Circuit Judge Terence Perkins for the second time in five weeks on Tuesday defended his decision to deny Joseph Bova the right to represent himself during his trial on a first-degree murder charge at the end of September. Bova was found guilty and Perkins sentenced him to life in prison. The case is on appeal.
Giving crime victims constitutional rights equal to those of defendants sets up a clash over the accused person’s Sixth Amendment right to due process and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins will replace Dennis Craig, who’s headed back to Volusia, becoming the sixth judge in eight years to preside over Flagler County’s felony court.
The invalidation of 55% of death sentences affect those of two Flagler double-murderers–William Gregory, of Flagler Beach, David Snelgrove of Palm Coast–and Cornelius Baker, who killed a woman in Flagler.
There is a lack of funding for public defense in every state, and people charged with low-level misdemeanors, often poor minorities, suffer the most as public defender offices focus their few resources on felony cases.
While a murder suspect was being voluntarily interrogated before he confessed, his lawyer appeared at the sheriff’s office but cops wouldn’t let the lawyer see his client.
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 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 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.
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.