January 12, 2016 Practice Points

SCOTUS Holds Only Jury Can Determine Death Penalty Factors

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Hurst v. Florida that only a jury and not a judge could determine the factors necessary to impose the death penalty.

By Sanford Hausler

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Hurst v. Florida that only a jury and not a judge could determine the factors necessary to impose the death penalty. The jury in Hurst had recommended that the death penalty be imposed on the defendant, but failed to set out any aggravating factors that are a requirement for the death penalty. The court imposed the death penalty, deciding, based on its own review of the facts, that certain aggravating factors existed. Justice Sotomayor wrote the decision for the Court. Justice Alito was the sole dissenter.

— Sanford Hausler, Cox Padmore Skolnik & Shakarchy, New York, NY


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