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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