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Fla. Senate panel considers death penalty changes

Death Penalty
Posted at 8:01 PM, Mar 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-11 16:09:08-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Legislation is being debated in the Senate that would require a Florida jury to be unanimous to recommend the death penalty. It would be a significant legislative change to the state's capital punishment system.


      The Senate's Criminal Justice committee discussed the bill (SB 148) but ran out of time to vote. Sen. Thad Altman is sponsoring the bill. The Viera Republican said his measure will likely return to the committee next week.


      The bill also requires jurors in a death-penalty murder case to vote on "aggravating circumstances" and they must also agree unanimously on any evidence that supports a death recommendation.


      Thirty-three states impose the death penalty. Florida and Alabama are the only ones that do not require a unanimous vote of the jury.