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Poll: Majority Of Florida Residents Want Unanimous Juries In Death Penalty Cases

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One in three Floridians prefer the death penalty as a punishment for people convicted of murder. That’s according to a new poll from Florida International University’s School of Law.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of Florida’s system for handing down death sentences. Since then, the legislature has been scrambling to come up with a fix.

Stephen Harper is a visiting professor at FIU. Harper said he and his colleagues conducted the poll to learn about public opinion as the debate continues in Tallahassee.

“A little bit surprising was the strength of those in favor of a unanimous jury,” he said of the poll’s findings. “Almost 70 percent supported or strongly supported a unanimous jury.”

In Florida’s recently-overturned system, juries needed a simple majority vote to recommend the death penalty.

The new Florida House proposal would require nine jurors to agree. The Senate version would require a unanimous decision to hand down the sentence.

The state will have to come up with a new system before any new death penalty cases can move forward.

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