Hurst v. StateAnnotate this Case
In Hurst v. State, the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s death sentence, which was imposed after a second penalty phase sentencing proceeding. Defendant sought certiorari review. Upon review, the United States Supreme Court reversed, holding that Florida’s capital sentencing scheme was unconstitutional to the extent that the judge, independent of a jury’s fact-finding, finds the facts necessary for imposition of the death penalty. The Court left it to the Florida Supreme Court to consider whether the error in sentencing was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. On remand, the Supreme Court held (1) the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hurst v. Florida requires that a jury must unanimously find the critical findings necessary before the trial court may consider imposing a death sentence, and in order for the trial court to impose a sentence of death, the jury’s recommended sentence of death must be unanimous; (2) Fla. Stat. 775.082(2) does not mandate that Defendant receive an automatic life sentence; but (3) the error in Defendant’s sentencing was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Remanded for a new penalty phase proceeding.