Delhall v. State of FloridaAnnotate this Case
Delhall, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, unlawful use of a firearm, unlawful discharge of the firearm resulting in death or serious bodily harm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. At the jury trial the State presented evidence that Delhall murdered the victim because he was, at that time, the only known eyewitness to the murder of another individual (Bennett) with which Delhall’s brother was charged. The jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of eight to four, and the trial court entered an order sentencing Delhall to death. The Florida Supreme Court vacated the sentence, stating that the prosecutor, “by her overzealous and unfair advocacy, appeared to be committed to winning a death recommendation rather than simply seeking justice.” Her improper advocacy continued even after an objection was sustained. In one instance, the judge was forced to step in and specifically admonish her to stop it. Cumulative errors fundamentally tainted the guilt phase, which was especially significant in view of the fact that the jury recommended death by a vote of eight to four, a recommendation that was far from unanimous.