This week, state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, and state Rep. Berny Jacques, R-Seminole, filed a bill to have the current Florida Statute for unanimous death sentences amended to at least a super majority on death penalty cases.
“It is unconscionable that ‘protest jurors’ can deny justice to the families of victims of heinous crimes in our current system of unanimity. This is much needed reform to ensure that evil scumbags like Nikolas Cruz do not escape with just a life sentence,” said Ingoglia.
“Five years ago, the family of fallen Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charlie Kondek was devastated in a Pinellas County courtroom when they learned his killer would not receive the ultimate punishment— all because 2 jurors out of 12 refused to recommend the death penalty. Three years ago, the Florida Supreme Court made it very clear that Florida’s recently changed law that requires all 12 jurors to agree on recommending death was based on a wrongly decided court decision; this bill corrects that wrong. As a former prosecutor who worked with crime victims and their family members, I am confident that this fix in our law will strengthen the administration of justice in Florida,” said Jacques.
The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association offered its support to the proposal.
“We support reforming Florida’s death penalty law to ensure those convicted of the most heinous murders be sentenced to death without the requirement of a unanimous jury recommendation. This reform will help the victims of these crimes and their families receive the justice they deserve,” the association noted.
“With this legislation, survivors and their families will no longer have to worry that the will of a single juror will deny them the justice they fought so hard get,” said State Attorney Bill Gladson.
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