State may let some death row in­mates avoid ex­e­cu­tions

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

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.

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