Indigent Defense in Capital Cases

Terence Lenamon presented the defense’s opening statement in the death penalty trial of State of Florida v. Markeith Loyd today, and you can watch Terry’s opening via this YouTube capture of the live courtroom proceedings (Terry begins at the 14:33 mark, immediately after the state’s opening statement):

Today, Terence Lenamon argued his motion that  Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala be allowed to testify as part of the defense for Markeith Loyd.  Back in 2017, Ms. Ayala declined to seek the death penalty as prosecutor in the Loyd case; as a result, Governor Rick Scott replaced her at the state’s trial table.  (

As reported in the Tallahassee Democrat in its article “Funding for court-appointed counsel dries up; JAC can’t pay bills,” written by Jeffrey Schweers and published on April 11, 2019, Florida’s Justice Administrative Commission has run out of money.

Accordingly, Terence Lenamon has filed a motion to continue the current death penalty trial of

Terence Lenamon’s upcoming capital case docket involves the death penalty defense of Michael James Jackson.   Jackson is currently a resident of Florida’s Death Row.

Continuing Impact of Hurst on Florida Death Penalty

This case is one of the many Florida death penalty cases that have gone under review in the aftermath of Hurst v. Florida.  

How JAC impacts the Florida Death Penalty: Indigent Defense Legal Fees

For over 40 years, Florida’s Justice Administrative Commission (“JAC”) has provided administrative support to the state judicial branch.  Among its managerial tasks is overseeing the payment of court-appointed lawyers who represent defendants unable to afford counsel (indigent defendants).  In 2004, JAC was first given

This month, the trial of Markeith Loyd continues in an Orlando courtroom with Terry Lenamon at the defense table. While prior Florida state attorney Ayala declined to proceed with the death penalty, it is back on the table.

For more on the Markeith Loyd case, see:

Terence Lenamon is in trial today defending Markeith Loyd in what appears to be a day-long proceeding involving dozens of motions.  Watch it live at Wild About Trials (or view it in the archive).

In two of Terry Lenamon’s capital cases, he has filed motions for continuance of the trial dates because of funding issues. 

 Terry Lenamon just finished a six week trial in Florida, where state prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Vernon Dwayne Stevens.  Mr. Stevens, however, will not face capital punishment:  Terence Lenamon’s arguments for mitigation were successful and a life sentence was reached.

For details, check out the following documents in the Terry Lenamon Online

Terence Lenamon filed the following motion, his co-counsel David Markus argued the motion, and now Florida Circuit Court Judge Victoria Sigler has granted their motion regarding the unconstitutionality of Florida Statute 27.5304 – striking the law as unconstitutional.

Here is the Order (read the Motion with its briefing online in the Terence Lenamon Online