Miami Legal Tips Blog

Hundreds of Death Sentences Could be Overturned

jail-cells-429638_1280Criminal justice in Miami might be taking a new turn. Consider a recent article for the Tampa Bay Times titled “Three former Florida Supreme Court chief justices urge court to overturn hundreds of death sentences.”

Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times writes, “Three former chief justices of the Florida Supreme Court are urging the state’s high court to reduce the death sentences of 390 prison inmates to life without parole, which would abolish four decades of capital punishment in Florida. Former chief justices Harry Lee Anstead, Rosemary Barkett and Gerald Kogan, all appointed by a Democratic governor, filed a brief Tuesday, two days before oral arguments over whether to spare the life of the inmate at the center of a precedent-setting case that has placed executions on hold. The case involves Timothy Lee Hurst, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Cindy Harrison, a supervisor at a Popeye’s restaurant in Pensacola in 1998. Hurst had filed a flurry of appeals through the years, and the U.S. Supreme Court finally agreed with him in January that Florida’s death penalty sentencing law was unconstitutional because it gave too little weight to the jury. As a result, the state Supreme Court must review his case and decide whether he should still be executed. The court will hear oral arguments Thursday morning. Citing older cases and decisions by the Legislature, the former chief justices argued that because the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the process used to impose a death sentence, it called into question the validity of the sentence itself. ‘Persons previously sentenced to death for a capital felony prior to the decision in Hurst vs. Florida are entitled to have their death sentences replaced by sentences of life without parole,’ they concluded. They also argued that a 1972 state law, adopted after the U.S. Supreme Court previously held capital punishment to be unconstitutional, requires all current death sentences to be commuted to life without parole.”

The Law Offices of Gilbert & Smallman handles criminal defense matters of all degrees, both state and federal.  We are available 24/7 for a free consultation.  If you or a loved one is in trouble with the law a good lawyer by your side is a must.  Call us now to protect your rights and freedom.  We have offices conveniently located in Miami, North Miami, Hollywood and Tallahassee.  

To learn more about some of our law firm’s past results in criminal defense matters visit our “victories” page.

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