Last week, the Florida Supreme Court released its opinion in Richard Franklin’s case.
New Sentencing Hearing for Florida Death Row Inmate Richard Franklin
Their decision? Franklin should get a new sentencing hearing on his murder conviction of a prison guard.
Why? There was not complete agreement among the jurors in his initial sentencing. "In light of the non-unanimous jury recommendation to impose a death sentence," explains the Court, Mr. Franklin will have a new sentencing hearing.
READ THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DECISION IN FRANKLIN V. FLORIDA HERE.
What’s a Sentencing Hearing?
What’s that? It’s a trial in and of itself. The prosecution presents its aggravating factors and arguments on why capital punishment should be given; the defense presents mitigating factors on why the death penalty is not appropriate.
How Many New Sentencing Hearings in Florida?
Why is this happening? Last January, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hurst v. Florida. They ruled that the Florida death penalty law was unconstitutional. We’ve discussed this in past posts.
Last week’s Florida Supreme Court decision in Franklin is a result of the decision in Hurst.
Thing is, it’s also a big red flag to the State of Florida that we can expect lots more Death Row Inmates to be allowed a second sentencing hearing.
How many? No one is sure. Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center has been quoted as predicting it’s in the hundreds.
For more details, see the DPIC discussion here.