Hurst's Sixth Amendment Essay

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I am writing separately because I do not believe Florida’s sentencing scheme violates Hurst’s sixth amendment. I agree with the dissent that Apprendi and Ring should be overruled in favor of something more in line with Walton and our precedent prior to the new millennium. I concur in the judgment, however, because the jury’s role in Florida’s capital sentencing scheme is unconstitutional. Florida does not require unanimity or a feeling of responsibility by the jury in the death sentencing scheme. Also, Florida only requires a simple-majority vote to render its verdict instead of one that is unanimous. Our rejection of simple-majority jury decisions, I believe, was deeply-rooted. In the 1700’s, Sir William Blackstone made his opinion clear that a jury trial was the most “transcendent privilege” any person can hope for. 3 Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 379 (1768). That no state can take away your property or liberty without the “unanimous consent of twelve of his neighbors and equals,” was a great comfort to Blackstone, as it should be to all of us. Id. John Adams believed that a unanimous jury is the thing that “preserves the rights of mankind.” 1…show more content…
There is something fundamentally wrong this scheme that’s only purpose is to populate death row. The fact that it is easier for jurors to give a death sentence than convict a petty criminal of a misdemeanor is gravely troubling. Rodriguez Sanchez v. State, 503 So. 2d 436, 437 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1987). A Florida jury will deliberate until unanimity is reached to convict someone of trespass yet can vote by simple-majority to make a defendant eligible for the death sentence. Petitioner’s Brief pg. 52. This case is not a misdemeanor trespasser trying to avoid minimal court costs. It is the decision between life and death and should be taken as
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