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Florida Supreme Court halts scheduled execution

[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesdayhalted [order, PDF] the March 17 execution of James Asay. This is the second time the court indefinitely postponed a scheduled execution. In February, the court issued a stay of execution [order, PDF] for Cary Michael Lambrix after the US Supreme Court [official website] determined in Hurst v. Florida [opinion, PDF] that the death penalty was being improperly administered in Florida and that the state's capital sentencing statute was unconstitutional [JURIST report].

Capital punishment [JURIST op-ed] remains a controversial issue in the US and worldwide. In February the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] rejected [opinion, PDF] a Georgia death row inmate's legal challenge [JURIST report] to the death penalty. In January Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official website] stated that he plans to ask lawmakers to approve the firing squad, electrocution or nitrogen gas as alternate methods of execution [press release] if the state prohibits lethal injection [JURIST reports]. The US Supreme Court in January ruled [JURIST report] in Kansas v. Carr [opinion, PDF] that a jury in a death penalty case does not need to be advised that mitigating factors, which can lessen the severity of a criminal act, do not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt like aggravating factors.

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