The Latest From Florida’s Death Row

Editor’s note: I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I’ve been juggling several projects recently and the blog has suffered. Updates will likely continue to be sporadic for the next month or so, as I’ll be traveling. Updates are a bit more regular via my Twitter feed, at

Here’s the latest headlines involving Florida’s death row:

I’ve previously posted an article about the proposed legislation from  Rep. Matt Gaetz and Sen. Joe Negron that would “streamline” Florida’s death penalty process, by requiring judges at the Circuit Court and Supreme Court levels to speed up appeals. The legislation prompted a flurry of editorials and criticism from Florida papers, with many calling for a review of the flaws rather than a speeding up of executions. I’ve listed and linked to these editorials below, for your perusal:

Florida Paper Examines Unique Florida Law on State’s Death Sentencing Requirements: Two different articles in the Tampa Bay Times recently examined the state’s rules on jury sentencing in capital cases. Florida is unique in that while defendants must be found guilty by unanimous vote, when it comes to the sentencing hearing, where the choice is made whether the defendant will live or die, a simple majority is all that is required. The two articles are listed below:

Jury Recommends Death Penalty for John Lee in Sarasota Double Killing: Jurors have recommended the death penalty for a 49-year-old man after convicting him in the death of his girlfriend and a neighbor in southwest Florida.

Florida Officer Linked to Two Wrongful Convictions: According to the Sun Sentinel, former Broward County Sheriff’s Major, Tony Fantigrassi, who has been linked to the wrongful conviction of Jerry Frank Townsend, is now being sued for allegedly coercing a confession in the Anthony Caravella case.

Lawmakers Looking To  Florida’s Death Penalty Process: Florida is one of the top states in the nation with the most number of people facing the death penalty—Close to half of which have been on death row for at least 20 years. And, a group of lawmakers is now trying to streamline the death penalty process through a couple of measures, but it’s facing much opposition.

Convicted Killer Loses Appeal to Overturn Death Penalty Conviction:  For the fifth time, a convicted killer’s appeal to bar his execution has been denied by the Florida Supreme Court. Attorneys for 61-year-old Roger Cherry have tried for years to have his death sentence overturned, claiming Cherry is mentally disabled.

State to Seek Death Penalty For Barry Davis:  Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore announced Tuesday that the state will seek the death penalty for Barry Davis if he is convicted of killing Santa Rosa Beach resident John Hughes and his girlfriend, Heidi Rhodes of Panama City.

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