CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hernandez on Florida's Timely Justice Act

Antonio M. Hernandez has posted Florida — America's First Death Warrant Fulfilment Center?: Timely Justice Act of 2013's Death Warrant Issuance Provision and a Proposed Holding for Abdool v. Bondi (University of Miami Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Florida’s Timely Justice Act of 2013 attempts to fulfil death warrants with the assembly-line like efficiency of a giant retailer’s order distribution network. The law aims to eliminate backlogs — the telltale sign of a flawed distribution system. As of January 11, 2014, Florida’s death row roster has 401 inmates — second most in the nation. The Republican controlled Florida Legislature seemingly assaulted this backlog when it sent the Timely Justice Act of 2013 on June 14, 2013, to the state’s CEO, Republican Governor Rick Scott for signing into law. The Timely Justice Act attempts to expedite the fulfillment of death warrants by reducing appeal and collateral claim litigation time and ineffective assistance of counsel claims through stringent timetables for death warrant issuance, signing, and execution, among other provisions. The law is one of first impression. 

This Article will first briefly discuss the history of capital punishment in Florida. In doing so, it will discuss the reinstatement of the death penalty, Florida’s past efforts to expedite capital punishment, and the exoneration of Juan Roberto Melendez, among other exoneration statistics. Next, this Article will discuss various ambiguities in the Timely Justice Act that were identified during the first certification process. Then the Article will unearth a conflict in Florida law created by the Timely Justice Act with respect to the governor’s clemency power. Last, this Article will then propose that the Florida Supreme Court reconcile the conflict and also strike a portion of the warrant issuance provision while retaining the remainder of it.

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