On June 22, 2011 a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that Florida's procedure for imposing the death penalty was unconstitutional. Judge Jose Martinez found [PDF] that the procedure violates the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. Under Florida's death penalty statute, the court determined if sufficient aggravating circumstances exist to impose a death sentence and could accept or reject the jury recommendation. Florida had briefly banned the death penalty in December 2006, after the botched execution of Angel Diaz. However, Governor Charlie Crist reinstated the death penalty in July 2007.
Learn more about the death penalty from the JURIST news archive and read commentary on the ruling from JURIST Guest Columnist Richard Dieter in Hotline.