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Florida Dems Differ On Death Penalty Changes

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Democratic lawmakers have differing views on Republican proposals to change the state’s death-penalty laws, including eliminating a requirement of unanimous jury recommendations before judges can impose death sentences, leaders said Monday.

Republicans have filed a series of proposals (SB 450, HB 555, SB 520, and HB 609) for consideration during the legislative session that will start March 7.

The proposals stem, at least in part, from convicted murderer Nikolas Cruz receiving a life sentence last year, after a Broward County jury was not unanimous on recommending the death penalty in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.

Related News: Unanimous Jury Recommendations Targeted In Florida Death Cases

During a media availability Monday, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Davie, pointed to the school shooting and said Democratic lawmakers have a “panoply” of views on making changes to the death penalty. “For Broward County, it’s a tough one — a huge miscarriage of justice,” Book said.

Similarly, Sen. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, said Democratic lawmakers bring “different perspectives” to the issue.

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