US Supreme Court declines to block execution of Florida inmate News
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US Supreme Court declines to block execution of Florida inmate

The US Supreme Court Tuesday declined to block the execution of an inmate in Florida. With no listed dissents, the court denied Louis Gaskin’s petition for a grant to stay his upcoming execution.

Louis Gaskin, who is set to be executed Wednesday, was convicted of two counts of first degree murder in 1990. Florida prosecutors charged Gaskin with the killing of Robert and Georgette Sturmfels.  Prosecutors also charged Gaskin with once count of armed robbery and one count of burglary. A Florida jury convicted and then voted 8-4 in recommending the death sentence for Gaskin. Under current law, Florida law requires an unanimous jury vote for the death penalty.

On April 6, Gaskin’s lawyer filed a petition  with the US Supreme Court to stay Gaskin’s execution. Gaskin argued that his constitutional rights were violated because the jury vote for the death penalty was not unanimous. In the application, Gaskin argued that he was “not t included in the class of defendants who are subject to the death penalty,” and that to include him in the “class of defendants” would be “cruel and unusual punishment.” Gaskin also argued that the death penalty violates his Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth  Amendment rights under the US Constitution.

In response to Gaskin’s petition, the state of Florida argued that Gaskin failed to establish the three factors necessary to grant a stay of the execution. The state also argued that Hurst v. Florida does not apply retroactively and that there has to be a “unanimous finding of on aggravating factor, not a unanimous recommendation of death.”