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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

After high court ruling, inmate Lambrix seeks to stop execution

Cary Michael Lambrix

Florida Department of Corrections

Cary Michael Lambrix



The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down Florida's death penalty sentencing system has prompted death row inmate Cary Michael Lambrix to file a indefinite stay of execution with the Florida Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Lambrix cited the "potential retroactivity" of the decision by the nation's highest court on Tuesday in the case of Timothy Lee Hurst, who successfully challenged Florida's sentencing system in which the jury plays an advisory role and the judge makes the key fact-finding decisions in capital cases.

"This Court should grant an immediate and indefinite stay of execution and schedule full briefing so that the implications of the Hurst decision may be conducted in a reasonable manner and not under the circumstances of an active death warrant," wrote Lambrix's lawyers, Neal Dupree, William Hennis III and Jessica Houston, all with the state's Capital Collateral Regional unit based in Fort Lauderdale.

Gov. Rick Scott signed Lambrix's death warrant on Nov. 30, 2015. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 11 at Florida State Prison in Starke.

Lambrix is at the front of what could yet be a long line of death row inmates challenging their death sentences. The Legislature is expected to pass a bill in the current session to bring state law in line with what eight of the nine justices said in their opinion: that Florida's death penalty sentencing system is unconstitutional.

Lambrix, 55, has been on death row for 31 years following his conviction in the killings of a man and a woman in Glades County in 1983. His case has been litigated extensively, and in 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his death sentence on a 5 to 4 vote.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2016 10:17am]


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