Thursday, October 12, 2006

Procedural Default - Florida death penalty

Procedural Default

53. Further, the Florida Supreme Court frequently relies upon procedural defaults to create procedural bars that preclude consideration of meritorious issues that go to the reliability of the conviction and sentence of death. See Swafford v. State, 828 So. 2d 966, 977-78 (Fla. 2002); Jones v. State, 709 so. 2d 512, 519-20, 525 (Fla. 1998).

Certainly, the refusal to consider issues that go towards the reliability of the conviction and/or the sentence of death increase the risk that the innocent or the legally undeserving will be executed.

It decreases a Ameaningful basis for distinguishing the few cases in which [death] is imposed from the many cases in which it is not@ Furman, at 313 (White, J., concurring).

The ABA assessment team recommended in its report that AState courts should permit second and successive post-conviction proceedings in capital cases where counsels= omissions or intervening court decisions resulted in possibly meritorious claims not previously being raised, factually or legally developed, or accepted as legally valid.@ ABA Report on Florida at 241.

As it is, the Florida death penalty scheme violates Furman.

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