Of course, the biggest result of the Florida Supreme Court’s decision this week in Asay v. Florida is its failure to block the impeding execution of Mark James Asay.
Read the full opinion here: Asay v. State, No. SC17-1400 (Fla. Aug. 14, 2017).
Asay Execution Remains Scheduled for August 24, 2017
The State of Florida has scheduled this execution for August 24, 2017. This week’s Florida Supreme Court opinion will not block that from happening.
It will be the first execution in the State of Florida in many months (over a year and a half), since executions were halted here after SCOTUS ruled that the Florida death penalty statute was unconstitutional.
Impact on Florida Death Row Inmates’ Review of Death Sentences
After SCOTUS’s ruling in Hurst v. Florida, the Florida Legislature revised the state capital punishment laws twice. This year, a new statute became effective that mandates juries be unanimous in their recommendation of a sentence of death.
As we have discussed earlier, one result of the SCOTUS ruling meant that Florida Death Row inmates might have legal arguments for re-sentencing and life sentences on constitutional grounds.
The Asay opinion by the Florida Supreme Court did not agree with Asay’s constitutional arguments — although the sole dissenter, Justice Barbara Pariente, did find merit in them. Specifically, that the cut-off date for determining which Florida Death Row inmates should be allowed re-sentencing hearings is unconstitutional.
Justice Pariente dissents, agreeing with Petitioner Asay that all Florida Death Row inmates who were sentenced to death in jury trials without unanimous recommendations for death should get a new sentencing hearing.
Lethal Injection Protocol for State of Florida
This new opinion in Asay is also important for the Florida Supreme Court’s declination to consider Asay’s arguments about:
(1) the State of Florida’s decision to use a new drug in its lethal injection method of execution (etomidate) and
(2) its use of a three drug cocktail and not a single drug in the execution process.