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State Legislative Affairs Update
By Scott Ehlers
Florida: ABA Finds Death Penalty System Needs Reform
A team of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges assembled by the American Bar Association has determined that Florida needs to make a number of reforms to its death penalty system. The eight-member panel studied Florida’s capital punishment system for two years before issuing its 454-page report.
Among other things, the report recommended that the state: require a unanimous jury verdict before a judge can impose a death sentence; create a commission to investigate wrongful convictions in capital cases; create a second commission to review factual innocence claims; and adopt new standards on qualifications and compensation of death penalty lawyers.
Florida is the fourth state to have its death penalty system assessed by the ABA, following Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona. The ABA is still in the process of assessing Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. (“American Bar Association Panel Says Fla. Death Penalty in N
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