Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed John Couriel and Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court, choosing two justices expected to cement the court’s conservative majority for years to come.
Florida Supreme Court
The 4-1 decision stunned public defenders, who expressed concern not only about its implications for juvenile sentencing but also about a reshaped court emboldened to revisit issues the legal community had considered settled.
The prosecution is arguing that a Supreme Court decision last week may make the re-sentencing of convicted murderer Cornelius Baker, scheduled to start in four weeks in Bunnell, if unnecessary.
The Florida Supreme Court said unanimous jury recommendations are not necessary before death sentences can be imposed, backing away from a 2016 decision. The ruling puts in question the case of Bunnell’s Cornelius Baker, scheduled for a re-sentencing in February.
The candidates, primarily appellate and circuit judges from across the state, are seeking to replace former justices Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa, who were appointed by President Donald Trump to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court has begun the process of reconsidering whether changes to Florida’s death penalty-sentencing system should continue being applied retroactively to cases dating to 2002.
Stand your ground applies to “persons,” and “a law enforcement officer is a ‘person’ whether on duty or off, and irrespective of whether the officer is making an arrest,” the court ruled unanimously.
None of the nine candidates from whom Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis will select three justices is black, although six of the original 59 applicants were African-Americans.
Ron DeSantis’ narrow win in Tuesday’s election for governor will bring an unprecedented expansion of conservative Republican power in Tallahassee.
The winner of the Nov. 6 election between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum “has the sole authority” to fill the court vacancies, the court ruled.