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What you need to know about the death penalty

On Behalf of | Aug 13, 2022 | Criminal Defense

In Florida, the death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is still a possible penalty for heinous crimes. Usually, only capital murder charges can lead to the death penalty, and even then, it isn’t often used to penalize someone convicted for murder.

The death penalty has changed over time. The death penalty passed a new capital punishment statute in 1972 in response to an important case, Furman v. Georgia. Several years later in the 1990s, a series of failed or botched electric chair executions led to the state switching to lethal injection.

It wasn’t until 2016 that the state abolished judicial override, which gave judges the right to impose death sentences even when the jury’s recommendation was life in prison. Interestingly, the next year, the state moved to require unanimous jury recommendations for the death penalty. Today, juries must agree on the penalty, or life in prison is the greatest penalty that can be used.

If you’re facing murder charges, you need to know your rights

If you face homicide or murder charges, it is essential that you understand your rights and if the death penalty is a possibility in your case. It is of the utmost importance that you build a strong case if it is a possibility, and you and your attorney will take steps to negotiate a plea deal that takes the death penalty off the table.

In the case that you do have to go to trial and the death penalty remains a risk, the goal is to get the potential charges reduced or dropped. If that can’t happen, then getting the penalties reduced is the next major goal. By simply getting the charges changed pre-trial or convincing even a single person on the jury that the death penalty isn’t acceptable, the entire outcome of the case could be changed.

Protect yourself if you face the death penalty

It is scary to think that a small group of people has your life in their hands. Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to help you protect yourself and minimize the risk of getting a conviction with the death penalty attached.