LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Donald A Pumphrey Jr.

A History of the Death Penalty in Florida and What it Means for Capital Defendants

A thorough look at the history of the death penalty in Florida.

Additional resources provided by the author

[1] Id. (stating that twenty-five states impose the death penalty, of those, sixty percent (not including Florida) conduct a proportionality review, and of those, fourteen states statutorily impose this review). [1] State v. Poole, 297 So. 3d 487, 497 (Fla. 2020), reh’g denied, clarification granted, SC18-245, 2020 WL 3116598 (Fla. Apr. 2, 2020), and cert. denied sub nom. Poole v. Fla., 141 S. Ct. 1051 (2021). [2] Id. [3] Florida Supreme Court Overturns Precedent Throughout 2020, American Bar Association (Jan. 26, 2021), https://www.americanbar.org/groups/committees/death_penalty_representation/project_press/2020/year-end-2020/florida-supreme-court-continues-to-overturn-precedent-throughout-2020/ [4] Phillips v. State, 299 So. 3d 1013, 1015 (Fla. 2020), reh’g denied, SC18-1149, 2020 WL 4727425 (Fla. Aug. 14, 2020), and cert. denied sub nom. Phillips v. Fla., 20-6887, 2021 WL 2044590 (U.S. May 24, 2021). [5] Id. [6] Id. [7] Id. [8] Bush v. State, 295 So. 3d 179, 184 (Fla. 2020), cert. denied sub nom. Bush v. Fla., 141 S. Ct. 1271 (2021). [9] Id. [10] Lawrence v. State, 308 So. 3d 544, 545 (Fla. 2020), reh’g denied, SC18-2061, 2020 WL 7778180 (Fla. Dec. 31, 2020). [11] Id. [12] Id. [13] Id. [1] Hurst v. Florida, 577 U.S. 92 (2016) [2] Id. [3] Id. [4] Id. [5] Florida Supreme Court “Recedes” from Major Death Penalty Decision Creating Uncertainty About Status of Dozens of Cases, American Bar Association (Mar. 11, 2020), https://www.americanbar.org/groups/committees/death_penalty_representation/project_press/2020/spring/florida-supreme-court-state-v-poole/. [6] Id. [7] Id. [1] Wayne King, FLORIDA EXECUTES KILLER AS PLEA FAILS, New York Times (May 26, 1979), https://www.nytimes.com/1979/05/26/archives/florida-executes-killer-as-plea-fails-spenkelink-electrocuted-is.html. [2] Rick Bragg, Florida’s Messy Executions Put the Electric Chair on Trial, New York Times (Nov. 18, 1999), https://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/18/us/florida-s-messy-executions-put-the-electric-chair-on-trial.html.Allen The State of Florida attempted to execute Allen Lee Davis, Pedro Medina, Jeffee Tafero using the electric chair. Davis was still alive after his attempted execution resulted in internal hemorrhaging. Medina and Tafero both caught on fire as a result of the electric chair. [3] Female Serial Killer Has Been Executed, ABC News (Oct. 9, 2002), https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=124614&page=1. [5] [1] Id. [2] Proffitt v. Florida, 428 U.S. 242 (1976). [3] Id. [4] Id. [5] Id. [1] Florida, Death Penalty Information Center, https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/state-and-federal-info/state-by-state/florida; [2] Death Row, Florida Department of Corrections, http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ci/deathrow.html. [3] Id. [4] Id. [5] Proffitt v. Florida, 428 U.S. 242 (1976). [6] Id. [7] Id. [1] Florida, Death Penalty Information Center, https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/state-and-federal-info/state-by-state/florida [2] Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, Equal Justice Initiative, Third Edition, https://eji.org/wp-content/uploads/2005/11/lynching-in-america-3d-ed-052421.pdf.

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