TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida would require a unanimous jury recommendation in death penalty cases under a bill approved in its first Senate committee stop.
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved the measure on Monday, exactly a week after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Florida's death penalty sentencing laws.
Only two other states allow non-unanimous jury recommendations — Alabama and Delaware. The Supreme Court decided to hear a case in which Timothy Hurst's lawyers claim his death sentence is unconstitutional because it wasn't unanimous.
A jury recommended 7-5 that Hurst be executed for the 1998 murder of his manager at a Pensacola-area Popeye's restaurant.
The new sentencing procedures would take effect July 1 if the bill becomes law. It would only apply to cases where a sentence hasn't been imposed yet.