Death penalty on trial as Supreme Court weighs Hurst impact
With the future of capital punishment in Florida in question, the state Supreme Court heard conflicting arguments Thursday on whether a death row inmate's sentence should be reduced to life without parole.
Hanging in the balance are the lives of 389 other death row inmates, as justices decide whether a U.S. Supreme Court ruling must not be applied retroactively, commuting those death sentences to life.
The nation's highest court ruled Jan. 12 in the case of Timothy Lee Hurst that Florida's death sentencing system was unconstitutional under the Sixth Amendment because it gave too little weight to a jury and too much weight to a trial judge. As part of that decision, the court ordered the Florida Supreme Court to review Hurst's death sentence, and oral arguments on that issue took place Thursday.