Death row inmate Mark James Asay seeks stay of execution
A second death row inmate in Florida facing execution early this year is seeking a stay.
But in this case, an attorney for Mark James Asay is citing lack of previous adequate representation for his new client along with questions over the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that strikes down the state's death penalty system.
Asay, who was convicted of murdering two men in downtown Jacksonville 29 years ago, is scheduled to be executed on St. Patrick's Day.
In a petition filed Tuesday with the Florida Supreme Court, attorney Martin J. McClain said he only began representing Asay on Jan. 13 after his death warrant had been signed by Gov. Rick Scott, and he found the files in his case "have either been destroyed or are unavailable."
Asay's petition comes after condemned killer Cary Michael Lambrix also sought a stay of his execution, which is scheduled for Feb. 11. Lambrix' plea hinges on the recent Supreme Court ruling, Hurst vs. Florida, which deemed the state's sentencing procedure unconstitutional because juries play an advisory role in recommending life or death. State law requires judges to make the final decision, after giving "great weight" to jurors' recommendations.
The Florida Supreme Court has denied an immediate stay for Lambrix and scheduled oral arguments for Feb. 2 on the question of whether the Hurst decision applies retroactively to his case. State lawyers have argued that if the case were applied retroactively, it would have a "severe and unsettling impact" on Florida's justice system.