Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Judge Expects Fewer Death Penalty Sentences In Florida

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A former chief judge says the number of future death penalty recommendations will likely drop now that a unanimous jury recommendation is required.

Attorney Belvin Perry Jr. was Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court. He’s been following Florida’s legal tug-of-war over the death penalty that ended when Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that requires a unanimous jury recommendation.

The legal wrangling brought executions in Florida to a standstill. And Perry says needing a unanimous jury will slow them down.

“It’s not difficult to persuade 12 people if the evidence is there to determine guilt or innocence. The heavy lifting comes in when you try to convince 12 people that an individual needs to die for the crime that they have committed. And all you need now is one person to disagree,” said Perry.

Perry expects a number of cases with only a majority of jurors recommending the death penalty will have to make their way back to court.

Catherine Welch is news director at Rhode Island Public Radio. Before her move to Rhode Island in 2010, Catherine was news director at WHQR in Wilmington, NC. She was also news director at KBIA in Columbia, MO where she was a faculty member at the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism. Catherine has won several regional Edward R. Murrow awards and awards from the Public Radio News Directors Inc., New England AP, North Carolina Press Association, Missouri Press Association, and Missouri Broadcasters Association.