Florida Rules on Imposing Death in Capital Murder Cases

Florida has a death penalty process created by statute and court rule.

Florida criminal courts are divided into regions or jurisdictions, but they all follow the same rules. Different districts encompass Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Dade County or Palm Beach County, but they all follow the same process.

When a murder defendant is convicted of capital felony, the court will have a separate sentencing proceeding and have testimony before the jury determine whether the defendant should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

Aggivators and mitigators are heard. The jury hears about the character of the defendant and the manner of homicide.

The decision to impose a sentence of death or life imprisonment is made by the judge, not the jury. The judge does take into consideration the jury’s vote.

The court makes the decision after weighing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

The Supreme Court must, within 60 days after certification by the sentencing court, review the decision or let it stand.