Two years ago, in January 2016, SCOTUS issued its decision in Hurst v. Florida and now, in January 2018, the Florida Supreme Court has issued its rulings in over two dozen requests by Florida Death Row inmates for new sentencing hearings based upon Hurst’s concerns regarding non-unanimous sentencing recommendations under the old Florida death penalty statute. 

These decisions have been released all this week (Jan 22 -24). More are expected. 

For details on Hurst, read our prior discussions here.

In short, the Florida Supreme Court is denying these Death Row inmates new sentencing hearings. 

The Court is using June 24, 2002, as its bright line. 

That’s the date that  SCOTUS came down with Ring v. Arizona, opining that the constitutional right to a jury trial  includes defendants facing the death penalty to have their jury find all facts that are necessary for a death sentence to be imposed.

The FSC holds Ring created new law and would not be retroactively applied to cases where direct appeals had been completed before Ring came down.

For details, read the coverage by Orlando Sentinel on January 22, 2018, entitled, "Florida Supreme Court rejects 10 Death Row appeals at same time." and the article by Stephanie Brown for WOKV-TV entitled, "FLORIDA SUPREME COURT LETS STAND DOZENS OF DEATH SENTENCES, INCLUDING 11 FROM THE FIRST COAST," which was published today. 

To read the entire SCOTUS opinion in Hurst v. Florida, go here