Florida Scraps Unanimous Jury Verdict Requirement In Death Penalty Cases

  • Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Thursday that will no longer require juries agree unanimously to recommend death sentences, reducing the number of jurors need to recommend a death sentence to the lowest threshold of any state with capital punishment.
  • SB 450 reduces the number of jurors needed to recommend a death sentence from 12 to 8.
  • The bill was prompted by a jury’s decision last year to not hand the death penalty to Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz. A jury recommended Cruz receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole instead for the February 2018 shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • Of the 12 jurors in Cruz’s trial, three voted against the death penalty.