Florida Democratic and Republican Lawmakers Differ on Death Penalty Changes

Florida Democratic and Republican Lawmakers Differ on Death Penalty Changes

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
February 6, 2023

Democratic lawmakers have differing views on Republican proposals to change the state’s death penalty laws, including eliminating a requirement of unanimous jury recommendations before judges can impose death sentences, leaders said Monday.

Republicans have filed a series of proposals (SB 450, HB 555, SB 520 and HB 609) for consideration during the legislative session that will start March 7.

The proposals stem, at least in part, from convicted murderer Nikolas Cruz receiving a life sentence last year, after a Broward County jury was not unanimous on recommending the death penalty in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.

During a media availability Monday, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Davie, pointed to the school shooting and said Democratic lawmakers have a “panoply” of views on making changes to the death penalty.

“For Broward County, it’s a tough one — a huge miscarriage of justice,” Book said. Similarly, Sen. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, said Democratic lawmakers bring “different perspectives” to the issue.

During a campaign rally in Coral Springs, Florida back in October 2022,  Gov. DeSantis called the jury decision to recommend Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz a life sentence instead of death, was a “miscarriage of justice.”

“That was a miscarriage of justice. That did not honor the victims and the families and all that the went through. I think we’ll be able to do something legislatively,” said Gov. DeSantis.

Shortly after the jury recommendation came down, DeSantis criticized the legal system, saying that "we're 4 and a half years after these killings, and we're just now getting this?"

Instead, he said that Cruz could've "been executed in 6 months.

“He's guilty, everybody knew that from the beginning, and yet it takes years and years in this legal system that is not serving the interests of victims,” added DeSantis.

Publisher Javier Manjarres contributed to this News Service of Florida

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at Diversenewmedia@gmail.com

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