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FLORIDA (USA): ANOTHER JUDGE RULES DEATH PENALTY LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL

June 9, 2016: A second Florida trial court has ruled that the state's new death penalty statute is unconstitutional. Hillsborough County Judge Samantha Ward barred prosecutors from seeking death against Michael Edward Keetley, saying that the state's death penalty statute violated the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Ward said that the Florida legislature's changes to the sentencing law after the U.S. Supreme Court had declared the old statute unconstitutional in Hurst v. Florida (12/01/2016), created an additional set of constitutional problems. Hurst held that the Florida sentencing statute impermissibly permitted the judge, rather than the jury, to determine whether the prosecution had proven each fact necessary to impose the death penalty.
In response to Hurst, the legislature passed a new law that permitted the court to impose a death sentence only if the jury unanimously found at least one aggravating circumstance that would make the defendant eligible for the death penalty and then recommended a death sentence by a vote of at least 10-2 after determining that the aggravating circumstance were sufficiently serious to justify a death sentence and outweighed any mitigating circumstances.
Judge Ward said that, under the new sentencing scheme, the jury's weighing of aggravating and mitigating circumstances constituted a fact-finding necessary before a death sentence could be imposed. She wrote, "it defies logic, and the dictates of the Sixth Amendment, to have the jury find one of the prerequisites unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt (that at least one aggravating factor exists), but not the other two prerequisites (that sufficient aggravators exist and that they outweigh the mitigating circumstances).
Hurst specifically stated 'the Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death.'" Judge Ward is the second Florida judge to find the new statute unconstitutional: on May 9, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch also struck down the law, ruling that the portion of the statute permitting the court to impose the death penalty without a unanimous jury vote for death violates the state constitution.
The case is State of Florida v. Michael Edward Keetley, Case No. 10-CF-018429, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court for Hillsborough County, Florida. (Source: DPIC, 09/06/2016)

TUNISIA: DEATH SENTENCE IN SUFI SHRINE KILLING
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: MILITARY COURT MARTIAL SENTENCES 31 TO DEATH
PAKISTAN: SC RESTORES DEATH SENTENCE OF PML-N MNA
IRAN: AT LEAST 3 PRISONERS HANGED AT BANDAR ABBAS CENTRAL PRISON ON DRUG CHARGES
BANGLADESH: SIX TO HANG FOR AHSANULLAH MASTER MURDER
SRI LANKA: DEATH SENTENCE FOR JORDANIAN HEROIN PEDDLER
UTAH (USA): EACH DEATH ROW INMATE COSTS $1.66 MILLION MORE IN TAXPAYER MONEY THAN ONE SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE
SOUTH AFRICA: GOVERNMENT TO DEPORT BOTSWANA MURDERERS TO FACE DEATH SENTENCE
UAE: DEATH PENALTY FOR ALGERIAN WHO KILLED CHINESE MAN UPHELD
CHINA HAS SCALED DOWN DEATH PENALTY AND INCREASED CHECKS SINCE 2012, GOV’T REPORT SAYS
CHINA: MAN WHO KILLED 6 PEOPLE DURING A SHOOTING SPREE IN SHANGHAI EXECUTED
TRINIDAD: EDWARDS FREED AFTER THE PRESIDENT DIRECTED THE COURT OF APPEAL TO RECONSIDER HIS CASE
IRAQ: SEVEN SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER 2015 BOMBING NEAR U.S. CONSULATE
INDIA: FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
SOMALIA: AL SHABAAB EXECUTES 7 FOR SPYING AND HELPING US DRONE STRIKES
BURKINA FASO: CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS PUSH FOR ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY
NIGERIA: OSUN STATE GOVERNOR PARDONS 17 PRISONERS, COMMUTES FOUR DEATH SENTENCES
PAKISTAN: THREE GET DEATH SENTENCE IN JUDGE MURDER CASE
EGYPT: 26 SENTENCED TO DEATH, 21 TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR ASWAN VIOLENCE
PAKISTAN: KILLER OF THREE EXECUTED IN MULTAN
BANGLADESH: WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING HUSBAND
BANGLADESH: SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT CONFIRMS DEATH FOR JAMAAT MEDIA BARON
IRAN: THREE PRISONERS HANGED IN MASHHAD
IRAN: TWO AFGHANS HANGED - LAWYER CONDUCTED THE EXECUTIONS
IRAN: TWO PRISONERS PUBLICLY HANGED IN SHIRAZ
IRAN: MAN AND WOMAN HANGED IN PRISON
SAUDI ARABIA: 14 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR TERRORISM
BANGLADESH: ONE SENTENCED TO DEATH, TWO TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR WAR CRIMES
PAKISTAN: DEATH ROW CONVICT EXECUTED IN SAHIWAL

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