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Posts tagged "florida laws"

What You Need To Know About Florida's New Laws

new Florida laws.jpgIn the Florida, lawmakers passed 279 bills during this year's assembly. 161 of these bills took effect July 1st, the start of fiscal year. Some of the areas influenced by these new laws include property taxes, school bullying, and criminal punishment, as well as a few other items that affect everyday life for some residents.

Florida Death Penalty Found Unconstitutional: What Happens Next?

Execution_chamber,_Florida.jpgThe Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Florida's death-penalty practice, concluding that Florida's current system, in which the jury's recommendation is combined with the final decision of the judge, violates the Constitution's Sixth Amendment. In an 8-1 determination, the court overturned several previous opinions that had upheld the system. Now, Florida's death penalty scheme is out of synch with the Sixth Amendment and perhaps could be out of commission all together, just as the use of 'Old Sparky' in the death chamber. The 10-page ruling is a triumph for death row convict Timothy Lee Hurst, but a direct challenge to Florida state lawmakers, who will have to rewrite the rules to be able to preserve capital punishment. Current Florida law states, a death sentence requires the finding of at least one aggravating circumstance; for instance, that the killing was particularly heinous, or occurred during the course of some other felony. After considering aggravating and mitigating circumstances the jury makes a nonbinding recommendation of life or death. The final sentencing determination is up to the judge, however "great weight" is to be accorded by the jury's recommendation. As a result of the Supreme Court decision there will now be many on death row with a legitimate reason to appeal their case and multiple others will now raise new appeals based upon this decision. Consequently, the public defenders will soon have a huge volume of cases to appeal and they are already underpaid and understaffed without adequate resources. With over 400 Florida prisoners facing the death penalty, the next hurdle in the race off death row will be whether the courts will apply this retroactively. The high court most recently heard argument on retroactivity in Montgomery v. Louisiana which addressed the Eighth Amendment issue prohibiting sentencing minors to life without parole, but this case has yet to be decided. One thing that is for certain, the aftershock of this ruling will surely be felt in the forthcoming petitions filed on behalf of those currently awaiting their last meal.

Florida Death Penalty Found Unconstitutional: What Now?

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Florida's death-penalty practice, concluding that Florida's current system, in which the jury's recommendation is combined with the final decision of the judge, violates the Constitution's Sixth Amendment.  In an 8-1 determination, the court overturned several previous opinions that had upheld the system. Now, Florida's death penalty scheme is out of synch with the Sixth Amendment and perhaps could be out of commission all together, just as the use of 'Old Sparky' in the death chamber.  The 10-page ruling is a triumph for death row convict Timothy Lee Hurst, but a direct challenge to Florida state lawmakers, who will have to rewrite the rules to be able to preserve capital punishment.  Current Florida law states, a death sentence requires the finding of at least one aggravating circumstance; for instance, that the killing was particularly heinous, or occurred during the course of some other felony.  After considering aggravating and mitigating circumstances the jury makes a nonbinding recommendation of life or death. The final sentencing determination is up to the judge, however "great weight" is to be accorded by the jury's recommendation. As a result of the Supreme Court decision there will now be many on death row with a legitimate reason to appeal their case and multiple others will now raise new appeals based upon this decision. Consequently, the public defenders will soon have a huge volume of cases to appeal and they are already underpaid and understaffed without adequate resources. With over 400 Florida prisoners facing the death penalty, the next hurdle in the race off death row will be whether the courts will apply this retroactively.  The high court most recently heard argument on retroactivity in Montgomery v. Louisiana which addressed the Eighth Amendment issue prohibiting sentencing minors to life without parole, but this case has yet to be decided. One thing that is for certain, the aftershock of this ruling will surely be felt in the forthcoming petitions filed on behalf of those currently awaiting their last meal.

Florida Gambling Laws Set to Renovation

casino chipsLately, there has been discussions about reforming the gambling laws in Florida. In fact, it is only a matter of time that new policies will be implemented regarding how racetracks and jai alai frontons are operated. As they stand right now, the current laws are hard to understand and do not contain clear definitions on standards. Thus, the upcoming rewriting process will help to bring clarification to those laws. This announcement comes on the heels of the discussions that will take place next year about gambling issues. The topics expected to be debated include the proliferation of slot machines and passing laws that make it acceptable for high-end resort casinos to be built in the state; particularly South Florida. Before those debates take place, there will be several workshops where anyone can come in and talks about their concerns for these issues. They are expected to take place between the months of October and November. 

Florida Shooters are Still Walking Free

floridagun.gifState legislators sold "Stand Your Ground" as a legal protection for law-abiding Floridians who were forced to defend their family and property. House speaker Will Weatherford stated he wouldn't be opposed to legislation changing Florida's controversial self-defense law, as long as the state's law enforcement advised that changes are needed. But at the 2013 Florida Sheriffs Association Summer Conference, Florida sheriffs voted in support of the "Stand Your Ground" law. It has recently been stated by the FSA that only 57 of the 67 sherrifs were present at the time of voting. Scott Israel, one of the sheriffs absent at the time, has recently come out in opposition to the supposedly unanimous vote. FSA President and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd stated that, "The right to self-defense is well-established in law. The Florida Sheriffs confirmed this position by voting unanimously, at the 2013 Florida Sheriffs Association Summer Conference, to support the Stand Your Ground law as it is currently written." 

Joining the NRA to Overturn Teen Gun Restrictions

A person may join the armed services as young as seventeen with parental consent. In that service, the person will be trained in the use of automatic weapons and may well wield them in the defense of this nation. However, a 1968 federal gun ban on adults ages 18 to 20 prevents the same individual from purchasing a handgun from an authorized dealer.

The Future of Gun Laws in Florida

The state of Florida has always been at the top of the list for the number of criminal offenders that are convicted and serving time in prison. Florida has many gun laws, not necessarily strict, which has caused non-violent offenders to have sentences that are 167 percent over the national average. The gun laws in Florida serve in self-defense for the shooter, which gives them a strange perspective when you look at the laws. The recent controversial trial and possible acquittal for George Zimmerman in the trial of the death of Trayvon Martin creates a perfect example of the complicated view of gun laws. Zimmerman's attorneys use laws of self-defense, which created controversy across the country. The Stand Your Ground law was sought primarily Zimmerman's to be his defense, but the trial also opened the doors of racial profiling and aggressive force in defense with a firearm. 

Domestic Violence Statutes Scream for Reforms

Orange County, Orlando is known as one of the most dangerous counties in the U.S. for Domestic Violence victims. After years of this reputation, high-level officials in the judicial system and the community met together to improve the situation. The Domestic Violence Commission announced that after four months of research, there are some amendments that can be made to the present protocol that will improve the city. Additional money in areas of law enforcement and other measures in protecting the victim were major concepts that emerged.

New York Has Similar Program, which has Tremendous Results
Last year in 2012, Orange County reported 4,414 domestic violence arrests, which was second only to the 4,772 in Miami-Dade, with twice as many residents. Orange County has spent over $24 million on 911 operators, police officers, jail expenses and sheriffs that take the distress call, and when law enforcement responds to the call, they could only release the batterer because laws and administration were not properly executed. 

Death of Unborn Child Warrants a Separate Criminal Charge

A bill making the death of an unborn child a separate crime from an offense against the mother has passed the Florida House. H.B.759 passed on a vote of 74-43 on Thursday and includes the provision that criminal charges would apply even if the perpetrator did not know the woman was pregnant. A similar bill has already cleared several committees in the Florida Senate. The wording of the bill suggests that any point of gestational development is covered, creating contention among the bills many opponents. Opponents point out there would be an increase in pregnancy tests on women injured or killed as the result of a crime. 

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