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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State: Death penalty ruling doesn't apply in Lambrix case



Attorney General Pam Bondi's office is asking the Florida Supreme Court not to issue a stay on the Feb. 11 execution of Cary Michael Lambrix, a convicted double-murderer, who on Wednesday asked the justices to intervene.

Lambrix's request cites the Hurst vs. Florida decision handed down this week by the U.S. Supreme Court, which says that the state's death penalty procedures are unconstitutitonal.

But Bondi's office isn't convinced that Hurst should have any impact on the Lambrix case.

"While there are certainly pipeline direct appeal cases before this Court which will undoubtedly present weighty questions for this Court’s determination, this is not one of those cases," lawyers for the state said in court documents filed Thursday morning. "There is simply no reasonable likelihood that Hurst will have any application to Lambrix."

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out Florida's death penalty statutes specifically because it gives too much power to judges, who decide whether to issue a death sentence based on the recommendation of a majority of the jury. Juries should make that decision alone, without giving the judge the opportunity to intervene, the court said.

In Thursday's filing, Bondi's office writes that Lambrix's case is not procedurally eligible to be overturned based on Hurst and that the case is substantially different from that of Timothy Lee Hurst because Lambrix was unanimously convicted of other, related felonies in addition to the murders of two people in Glades County in 1983.

"It is time for Lambrix’s sentence for these brutal murders to be carried out," Bondi's office wrote.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2016 12:21pm]


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