florida death penalty

Caitie Switalski

If Mike Lambrix’s case played out today exactly the way it did when he was convicted in 1984, he would not have been sent to Death Row and executed, as he was Thursday night.

For more than a year and a half I exchanged letters with Lambrix, who preferred to go by Mike. I met him and his family to report the radio documentary: “Cell 1: Florida’s Death Penalty in Limbo.” The death penalty in Florida is no longer in limbo, and Lambrix was the second inmate to be put to death since executions resumed at the end of August.

A Death Row Inmate's Final Hours

Oct 5, 2017
man's face
Miami Herald / WLRN

Death Row inmate Michael Lambrix was set to become the second person in the state of Florida to be executed this year, as of Thursday evening. The state has had a long debate about the death penalty, but executions have resumed after the U.S. Supreme Court previously declared Florida's sentencing process to be unconstitutional. 

Lambrix, 57, has been on Death Row for 34 years. He was convicted in 1984 of killing two people, but has always maintained that he is innocent.  

Florida Department of Corrections

The state of Florida is poised to execute the first person in more than a year and a half this Thursday, August 24. 

Florida Supreme Court Won’t Block Asay’s Execution

Aug 15, 2017

Rejecting arguments about a new lethal-injection procedure, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday refused to block the scheduled Aug. 24 execution of Death Row inmate Mark James Asay.

New Lethal Injection Drug Focus Of Execution Fight

Aug 2, 2017

It's not unusual for lawyers representing Death Row prisoners whose execution dates have been set to file last-minute appeals to try to get more time to argue about why their clients should be spared.

Less than six months into state attorney Aramis Ayala’s term, the Legislature voted to cut $1.3 million from her budget and she says that decision is having an impact on her office's ability to fight human trafficking.

The move came after Ayala announced she would not pursue the death penalty, and after Gov. Rick Scott subsequently reassigned two dozen ninth circuit murder cases to fifth circuit state attorney, Bradley King.

As of March 13, 2017, Florida has a death penalty again.

Though the sentence is law again in Florida, many inmates continue to live on Death Row without knowing if they will ultimately die by the state’s hand or not.

Florida Department of Corrections

The Supreme Court has left in place a lower court ruling that said imposing a death sentence in Florida requires a unanimous jury.

The justices on Monday turned away an appeal from Florida officials seeking to overturn the ruling last year from the state’s highest court.

The Florida Supreme Court had struck down a newly enacted law allowing a defendant to be sentenced to death as long as 10 out of 12 jurors recommend it. That ruling concluded that Timothy Lee Hurst — convicted of a 1998 murder at a Pensacola Popeye’s restaurant— deserves a new sentencing hearing.

The swirl of controversy after the decision by Orange County State Attorney Aramis Ayala not to apply the death penalty in cases assigned to her has filtered down to a discussion of cases on Florida's death row.

Prosecutor’s Stance On Death Penalty Stuns Legislators

Mar 17, 2017

Days after Gov. Rick Scott signed a law effectively putting the state's death penalty back on track, a newly elected Central Florida prosecutor stunned legislators Thursday by announcing she will not pursue death sentences for any capital cases during her time in office.

Florida Department of Corrections

UPDATED 3/10/2017 11:05 a.m. - This post has been updated with the most recent Senate vote, which means the new death penalty rules have passed the Florida legislature and will be sent to the governor's desk for signature.

One final piece of the puzzle that held up the death penalty in Florida for years is almost back in place.

A proposal that would require unanimous jury recommendations for death sentences to be imposed sailed through its first House vetting Wednesday, receiving unanimous approval from the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

The legislation (HB 527), and a similar Senate measure (SB 280), is the latest attempt to get the state's death penalty --- on hold for more than a year --- back on track in the wake of a series of court rulings.

Rehearing Sought In Asay’s Death Penalty Case

Jan 8, 2017

Lawyers for a Death Row inmate are asking the state's high court for a rehearing after a majority of justices ruled last month that a major U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down Florida's death-penalty sentencing system does not apply to defendants convicted before 2002.

Bill Proposes Unanimous Juries In Death Penalty Cases

Jan 8, 2017

After the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a new death-penalty law was unconstitutional, the chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice committee Friday proposed requiring unanimous jury recommendations before defendants could be sentenced to death.

Florida Changes Lethal Injection Drugs

Jan 6, 2017

In the midst of a major upheaval involving Florida's death-penalty laws, state corrections officials have adopted a new lethal-injection procedure that includes a drug never before used for executions and another used only by accident.

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