A Florida jury convicted Timothy Lee Hurst of murdering his co-worker, Cynthia Harrison. A penalty-phase jury recommended that Hurst’s judge impose a death sentence. Notwithstanding this recommendation, Florida law required the judge to hold a separate hearing and determine whether sufficient aggravating circumstances existed to justify imposing the death penalty. The judge so found and sentenced Hurst to death.Kudos to Judge Jose Martinez who was way ahead of this issue and found Florida's scheme unconstitutional many years ago.
We hold this sentencing scheme unconstitutional. The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death. A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Florida Death Penalty found unconstitutional
The case, 8-1 per Justice Sotomayor, is Hurst v. Florida: