After months of turmoil and deliberation in the Florida Legislature, Governor Rick Scott signed a new Florida Death Penalty into law on Monday. The new law will require a 10-2 jury recommendation to sentence prisoners to death by execution. Despite the more stringent guidelines, Florida remains one of only three states that do not require a unanimous jury decision to recommend the death penalty.
The new law is in response to 8-1 (Judge Alito dissenting) US Supreme Court ruling in January, which declared Florida’s Death Penalty unconstitutional because judges had too much power in sentencing inmates to death, even when jurors did not favor execution.
The new law does not yet address the nearly 400 death row inmates sentenced under the previous law. It is unclear whether or not the legislature will address their sentences during the 2017 Florida Legislative session or leave the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. Florida is one of the most active states in terms of execution, with 11 executions being canceled in February 2016 alone due to the lack of a death penalty law. Florida has executed 24 prisoners since 2010, trailing only Texas, which has executed 87 prisoners.