Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States opted not to review a case dealing with the Florida Supreme Court’s determination that there must be an unanimous jury for the death penalty.
Which means that it’s clear going forward that in Florida capital cases, the prosecution must convince all twelve jurors that capital punishment is warranted before the death penalty can be imposed.
Jury Instructions in Florida Death Penalty Cases
This changes how the prosecutor and the defense lawyer do things, of course. Judges, too. For instance, as Terence Lenamon has discussed in an interview by the Ocala Star Banner, there will be necessary changes to the Jury Instructions that must be given in a capital case.
May 29th Ended Comment Period for Florida Supreme Court
Right now, the Florida Supreme Court is working on amending the Standard Jury Instructions that are to be given in a capital case, in light of the SCOTUS precedent.
The time period for public commentary on these new instructions ended this week.
SC17-583 Opinion: Jury Instructions Under Review
Pursuant to the Florida Supreme Court’s Opinion SC17-583, here are the specific Standard Jury Instructions that are involved:
Two Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases are in the process of being amended:
7.11 (Preliminary Instructions in Penalty Proceedings—Capital Cases)
7.12 (Dialogue for Polling the Jury (Death Penalty Case).
Two new jury instructions are being proposed:
3.12(e) (Jury Verdict Form— Death Penalty)
7.11(a) (Final Instructions in Penalty Proceedings—Capital Cases).
THE APPENDIX TO SC17-583 CONTAINS THE FULL TEXT OF ALL THE PROPOSED CHANGES. (IT BEGINS ON PAGE 9.)