Perry v. StateAnnotate this Case
This case involved a pending prosecution where the death penalty was sought. At issue was whether Florida’s newly enacted death penalty law (the Act), which was passed after the United States Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida held that a portion of Florida’s capital sentencing scheme was unconstitutional, may be constitutionally applied to pending prosecutions for capital offenses that occurred prior to the new law’s effective date. In State v. Perry, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held that the Act could apply to pending prosecutions without offending the Constitution. The Fifth District then certified two questions of law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered, holding (1) as decided on remand in Hurst v. State, Hurst v. Florida did not declare Florida’s death penalty unconstitutional, and because Fla. Stat. 775.082(2) is limited to those cases in which the defendant was “previously sentenced to death,” the statute is inapplicable; and (2) the Act cannot constitutionally be applied to pending prosecutions because it does not require unanimity in the jury’s final recommendation as to whether the defendant should be sentenced to death, contrary to the Supreme Court’s holding in Hurst v. State.