Florida’s death penalty troubles continue

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The death penalty continued to roil political waters in Florida in the last few weeks.

Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by state Attorney General Pam Bondi to review an October 2016 state Supreme Court ruling requiring unanimous jury verdicts in death penalty sentencing. That ruling meant that as many as 200 condemned inmates who were sentenced after 2002 could get resentencing hearings. As is customary, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the writ of certiorari without comment.

Meanwhile, Orange County State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Gov. Rick Scott will be in state Supreme Court on June 28 for oral argument, the Orlando Sentinel reports.  After Ayala announced shortly after taking office in January that she wouldn’t seek death sentences in any capital cases in her district, Scott took 23 death penalty cases away from her office. Ayala then sued Scott saying he didn’t have the authority to do so.

One of the cases Scott removed from Ayala was that of Juan Rosario, who was sentenced to death in Orange County last week for the murder of an 85-year-old woman in 2013. State Attorney Brad King prosecuted Rosario. The Orlando Sentinel  reports that this was the first Orange County capital case tried under Florida’s new statute requiring a unanimous jury to render a death sentence.

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