MIAMI – A Miami-Dade circuit judge has declared Florida's new death penalty law unconstitutional.
The Miami Herald (http://goo.gl/yChOvk) reports that Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that it is unconstitutional because a unanimous jury verdict is not required. The new law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in March, requires a 10-2 vote. Hirsch's decision on Monday was in the case of Karon Gaiter, who is awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
Florida had to revise its law after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 12 that it was unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges while juries played an advisory role in recommending death.
Florida and Alabama remain the only states that do not require unanimous verdicts.