Smith v. StateAnnotate this Case
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of manslaughter, and other crimes. The jury recommended by a vote of ten to two that Defendant be sentenced to death for one murder and also recommended a death sentence for another murder by a vote of nine to three. The trial court followed the jury’s death-sentence recommendations. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s first-degree murder convictions and sentences of death on direct appeal. Defendant later filed a motion to vacate his convictions and sentences pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, setting forth eight claims. The trial court denied Defendant’s Rule 3.851 motion. Defendant appealed and petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of postconviction relief as to all claims except Defendant’s claim relating to the constitutionality of his penalty phase, denied habeas relief, vacated Defendant’s death sentences, and remanded for a new penalty phase, holding that Defendant’s death sentence was unconstitutional under Hurst v. Florida.