State may let some death row inmates avoid executions
TALLAHASSEE | The fate of more than half of Florida’s 386 death row
inmates has been thrown into limbo amid far-reaching rulings handed down Thursday by the state’s Supreme Court.
The rulings are the latest twist in an ongoing legal battle over Florida’s reliance on a sentencing law that allowed judges — not juries — to make the ultimate determination in death penalty cases.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that the law was flawed, sparking a flurry of court challenges and an overhaul by the Florida Legislature.
A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court in one case agreed that the state can go ahead with the planned execution of Mark Asay, a Jacksonville man sentenced to death nearly 20 years ago for murdering two men.
In that decision a majority of justices decided that all death sentences imposed before another key 2002 U.S. Supreme Court death penalty ruling
can remain in place. This would apply to nearly half of the 386 inmates currently on Florida’s death row.