TALLAHASSEE, FL – On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 450 (SB 450). This bill reintroduces unconstitutional non-unanimous jury recommendations for the death penalty. Now, just eight out of twelve jurors will have the power to recommend a death sentence. Florida will now have the lowest threshold for death sentencing in the country. This bill runs contrary to the 2016 Florida Supreme Court ruling requiring unanimity in capital cases.
Tiffani Lennon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:
“The death penalty is racially and disproportionately applied against people experiencing poverty. Nonunanimous juries, a vestige of Jim Crow, only perpetuate the harm done to innocent Black and impoverished Floridians.
“Florida already has the highest number of death row exonerations in the country. With this bill and others, Florida is rapidly widening the net of who will be sent to death row with absolutely no consideration for the flaws that will inevitably lead to the harm of more innocent people. The bills coming out of this legislative session do not make Florida safer. Instead, they will continue to strain a severely broken system.
“This is a dark day in Florida history.”