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Category archives for: Eighth Amendment

Florida Supreme Court Halts Executions Indefinitely; 389 Death Row Inmates In Limbo

| February 2, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Florida’s death-penalty sentencing scheme on Jan. 12, forcing the state to rewrite its law but also putting in question whether the new law must apply to all 489 death row inmates.

Florida Lawmakers Urged to Require Unanimous Verdicts in Death Penalty Cases

| January 28, 2016

Florida is the only state in the nation where a simple jury majority is enough for a death penalty recommendation, one of several problems at odds with a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Florida’s capital punishment system.

Lawyers for Condemned Florida Man Call for Halt To Execution in Light of “Tectonic Shift”

| January 22, 2016

Lawyers for Cary Michael Lambrix, who has been on Death Row for more than three decades, have asked the Florida Supreme Court to halt his execution in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring Florida’s court process unconstitutional in such cases.

U.S. Supreme Court Declares Florida’s Death Penalty Scheme Unconstitutional

| January 12, 2016

The United States Supreme Court, in an emphatic ruling Tuesday, declared Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme to be a violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., To Be Killed Tonight, Is 23rd Execution on Gov. Scott’s Watch

| January 7, 2016

Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Teri Lynn Matthews, whose body was discovered on Dec. 5, 1986, near the side of a road in rural Pasco County.

Quadruple Murderer Jerry Correll Will be Executed as Florida Supreme Court Lifts Stay

| October 2, 2015

The unanimous decision issued today clears the execution by lethal injection. Correll murdered his wife, 5-year-old daughter, mother in law and her sister in Orlando in 1985.

Florida Supreme Court Refuses to Lift Stay on Execution of Jerry Correll, Who Contested Lethal Injection

| July 23, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision turned down AG Pam Bondi’s request to let Gov. Scott set an executuon date, and ordered a hearing on Correll’s assertion that the drug poses a heightened risk to him because of his alleged brain damage and history of drug use.

Supreme Court’s Lethal Injection Ruling Clears Way For More Florida Executions, and Challenges

| June 29, 2015

In the 5-4 majority opinion issued Monday, Justice Alito wrote that the first of the three-drug lethal cocktail used also used in Florida, “entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

Fifteen Years For Sex on the Beach? Seriously?

| May 10, 2015

Federal prisons are full of white collar criminals who won’t serve a day over five years, criminals who destroyed companies and bilked citizens out of their life savings. Yet Elissa Alvarez and Jose Caballero face 15 years for “lewd and lascivious” sex on the beach, a ridiculous excess, argues Nancy Smith.

Yes, It’s Retroactive: Florida Supreme Court Rules All Lifers Sentenced as Juveniles Must Be Resentenced

| March 19, 2015

The justices ordered lower Florida courts to apply a 2014 law to inmates who, as juveniles, were sentenced in the past either to life in prison or to terms that would have effectively kept them behind bars until they die. Two of the inmates were convicted of murder.

Will U.S. Supreme Court Rule Florida’s Cavalier Death Penalty Unconstitutional?

| March 15, 2015

In 27 of the 31 death penalty states, the jury’s decision to impose life imprisonment is final and may not be disturbed by the trial judge under any circumstances. But not in Florida.

Bi-Partisan Lawmakers Looking to Expunge Criminal Records of Non-Violent Juveniles

| February 27, 2015

An Orlando Senator is sponsoring a bill that would allow the expunging of records for minors who commit nonviolent misdemeanors and go on to complete diversion programs.

Florida Justices Halt Execution Until U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Lethal Injection

| February 17, 2015

Saying it must “err on the side of extreme caution” or risk threatening the “viability of Florida’s entire death penalty scheme,” the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the Feb. 26 execution of a convicted killer until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a lethal injection drug.

Don’t Expect Supreme Court’s Latest Review of Lethal Injection to Kill Death Penalty

| February 5, 2015

States changed from hanging to electric chair because it was a modern, supposedly painless method of execution. Botched executions have rendered that assumption problematic.

Inmate Asks Florida Justices to Block Execution Pending Supremes’ Ruling on Lethal Injection

| January 30, 2015

Attorneys for condemned killer Jerry William Correll filed an emergency petition as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a sedative that is the first drug administered during a three-step process in executions.

Scott Signs 21st Death Warrant 3 Days After UN Vote Calling for Capital Punishment Moratorium

| November 25, 2014

The warrant is for the execution of Johnny Shane Kormondy, 42, accused of murdering Gary McAdams and participating in the gang rape of his wife Cecilia during a robbery in Pensacola in 1991, when Kormondy was 21.

Said to Have Been Framed For Tampa Murder, Deaf Convict Felix Garcia Is Denied Release

| November 20, 2014

Felix Garcia’s supporters had hoped he would be released with time served, arguing that he’d been unable to understand the evidence against him during the murder trial and wasn’t given an interpreter.

Cruel and Unusual: 2 Inmates Who Murdered as Juveniles Challenge Their Life Sentences

| November 8, 2014

Two inmates serving life in prison for murders committed as juveniles are challenging their sentences based on a 2012 US Supreme Court ruling that bans mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

Gov. Rick Scott Signs 20th Death Warrant for Execution of Chadwick Banks on Nov. 13

| September 24, 2014

Chadwick Banks murdered his wife, Cassandra Banks, then raped and murdered his 10-year-old stepdaughter, Melody Cooper, on Set. 24, 1992 in Gadsden County. Banks shot both victims in the head.

Department of Corrections Fires 32 More, Including 3 Guards Involved In Gassing Death of Inmate

| September 20, 2014

All of the workers fired were on administrative leave pending a review launched earlier this summer. The housecleaning is part of the secretary’s attempt to salvage the reputation of the beleaguered agency in the wake of reports of widespread abuse and corruption, whistleblower complaints and federal investigations surrounding prisoner deaths.

Gruesome Buddies: ISIS Beheadings
And the American Death Penalty

| September 19, 2014

ISIS beheadings have provoked instinctive revulsion, justly so. Too bad the same reaction doesn’t follow Florida’s and other American state’s equally barbaric continuation of the death penalty, a habit other civilized nations have abandoned.

In Florida, Police Can Use Deadly Force Without Fearing Prosecution

| September 8, 2014

“In the past 20 years, not a single officer in Florida has been charged with using deadly force,” The New York Times reported last week, a startling prevalence of de-facto immunity in a state where police violence is not rare.

John Ruthell Henry Is Executed, 18th Inmate Put to Death on Rick Scott’s Watch

| June 19, 2014

No other first-term governor has signed the execution warrants of so many inmates since Florida re-instituted the death penalty in 1976. Since then, the state has executed 87 inmates. One in five of those has been executed on Scott’s watch, in less than four years.

Florida Supreme Court Upholds “Timely Justice” Law Fast-Tracking Executions

| June 12, 2014

In a concurring opinion of the unanimous decision, Justice Barbara Pariente emphasized that the law would not affect the Supreme Court’s “solemn responsibility” to block executions if needed to ensure that defendants’ rights have been protected.

Florida Leads Nation in Inmates Who Serve 100% Of Their Sentence, Increasing Chance of Re-Offending When Released

| June 5, 2014

A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds Florida leading the nation in inmates who “max out” their sentences — serving 100 percent of their time and being released with no supervision beyond the prison gates, thus increasing the chance of re-offending. Almost a third do re-offend.

U.S. Supreme Court Declares Florida’s Death Penalty Too Rigid in Low I.Q. Cases

| May 27, 2014

The court, in a 5-4 decision, said Florida’s use of an IQ score of 70 “creates an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disability will be executed, and thus is unconstitutional.” “Intellectual disability is a condition, not a number,” wrote Justice Kennedy for the majority.

Gov. Scott Sticking By Lethal Injection Formula Despite Gruesome Execution in Oklahoma

| May 8, 2014

A new report issued by the Constitution Project on Wednesday recommends that states like Florida scrap the three-drug lethal injection cocktail that resulted in a botched execution in Oklahoma last week and switch to a single drug instead. But Gov. Rick Scott’s administration says it’s making no changes.

Replacing Salisbury Steak With Sardines, Florida Prisons’ Kosher Option Raises Hackles

| April 11, 2014

Inmates contend that the peanut butter, sardines and cabbage served up daily by the Florida Department of Corrections are designed to discourage them from signing up for the kosher meals or to punish inmates if they do, and that the chow is far from what a federal judge had in mind last year when she ordered the state to start serving kosher meals to inmates.

Life Without Parole for Juveniles: Florida Struggles to Comply With Supreme Court Ruling

| March 6, 2014

Florida sentences more juveniles to life in prison without parole than any other state, but the pressure is on the Legislature this year to comply with restrictive U.S. Supreme Court rulings because without sentencing guidelines, the Florida judiciary is filling the gap one case at a time.

Convicted in Trooper’s Murder, Paul Howell Is Executed, Gov. Scott’s 15th

| February 27, 2014

Howell was convicted in 1994 in the 1992 murder of Florida Highway Patrol trooper Jimmy Fulford in 1992 when a bomb Howell manufactured exploded in the trooper’s hands after a traffic stop.

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