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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Supreme Court refuses to halt Lambrix's execution



The Florida Supreme Court on Friday refused to delay the scheduled Feb. 11 execution of condemned killer Cary Michael Lambrix on a 6-0 decision, with Justice Peggy Quince recused.

Lambrix, 55, had sought a stay of execution in light of Tuesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Timothy Lee Hurst that struck down Florida's death penalty sentencing system as unconstitutional. Attorney General Pam Bondi, on behalf of the state, argued that Lambrix should die as scheduled.

The state's highest court has scheduled oral arguments for 9 a.m. on Feb. 2 on the question of whether the Hurst decision applies retroactively to Lambrix's case. State lawyers argued Friday that if the case were applied retroactively, it would have a "severe and unsettling impact" on Florida's justice system.

As lawyers for the state noted, the Hurst decision was based on an earlier case, Ring v. Arizona, and the state Supreme Court has previously ruled that Ring cannot be applied retroactively in Florida.

"Because the United States Supreme Court expressly found that Ring was not retroactive, Hurst, which applied Ring to invalidate Florida’s statute, is also not retroactive," the state's petition said. "This Court specifically noted the severe and unsettling impact that retroactive application would have on our justice system [with nearly 400 death sentenced prisoners]."

Florida has 390 inmates on death row. Lambrix has been on Florida's death row since 1984 for the murders of a man and woman in Glades County in 1983.

[Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2016 1:31pm]


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