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Florida's Single-Juror Veto Law Causes Another Miscarriage of Justice

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A quadruple murderer whom 11 out of 12 jurors believed should be executed has been let off with life in prison due to the state's ill-conceived single-juror veto law.  AP reports (emphasis added):

A Florida man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend and her parents has avoided the death penalty.

The Tampa Bay Times reports 11 of 12 jurors voted Tuesday for 32-year-old Adam Matos to be executed, but without unanimous agreement, Matos automatically received a life sentence. The jury convicted him last week of four counts of first-degree murder.

Authorities say Matos fatally shot Megan Brown and her father, Greg Brown, at their Hudson home in 2014. He also fatally beat Margaret Brown and Nick Leonard with a hammer, jurors heard.

When the Hurst-fix bill was going through the Florida Legislature, I told everyone who would listen that a single-juror veto system (1) is not constitutionally required; and (2) will lead to arbitrary results and miscarriages of justice.  Nobody was interested.  This is the result.

Once more, with feeling, the right way to do it is the way Arizona and California do it.  The jury must be unanimous one way or the other to reach a verdict, just like in the guilt phase.  If the jury hangs in the penalty phase, declare a mistrial and empanel a new jury, just like in the guilt phase.  Why can't everyone who isn't dead set against the death penalty see that?

2 Comments

Absolutely Kent. When you contacted me during the Florida Legislature's debate on the new death penalty bill, I emailed numerous legislators that represent my area and received no responses except the usual auto replies. I am going to try to get in touch with Attorney General Pamela Bondi next week.

~ Commutation for a lifer is also a miscarriage of justice.

Man whose [life] sentence was commuted now charged with murder
BY CASSIDY GROM | NY DAILY NEWS | Monday, November 27, 2017

So much for second chances.

A Washington man whose life sentence was commuted in 2013 by former Gov. Christine Gregoire is back behind bars — and charged with murder.

If convicted, Stonney Rivers, 50, may face his second life sentence.

In her last days in office in 2013, Gregorie commuted River’s sentence, allowing him to be released in 2015 under community supervision. .. In a statement released Wednesday, Gregoire defended her decision to commute Rivers’ sentence.

Rivers’ supervision ended in January.

During a drug robbery at a motel on Nov. 2, Rivers allegedly shot and killed David Cabrera. He also reportedly threatened to kill Cabrera’s girlfriend.

~ http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/man-sentence-commuted-
charged-murder-article-1.3660258

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