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Florida Capital Punishment Laws

Simply mention the death penalty and it has the ability to polarize people instantly. Indeed, capital punishment has a long and controversial history in the U.S., where each state makes its own laws concerning the sentence. Most states, including Florida, allow capital punishment for the most serious crimes. Florida uses lethal injection for its executions but an inmate can request electrocution.

The basics of capital punishment laws in Florida are highlighted in the table below. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for more related articles.

Code Section 775.082, 782.04(1); 921.141; 922.07; 922.10 et seq.; 921.142; 922.08
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? Yes
Effect of Defendant's Incapacity Exempt from execution if insane or pregnant for duration of condition
Minimum Age No minimum age
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide? May apply to capital drug trafficking
Definition of Capital Homicide Capital felony committed by person serving sentence of imprisonment or under community control; previous capital felony or felony using or threat of violence; knowingly created great risk of death to many persons; the capital felony was committed while defendant was engaged in, was an accomplice, in commission of or attempt to commit or flight after committing or attempt to commit any robbery, sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, aggravated abuse of a disabled or elderly person, aggravated stalking, carjacking, arson, burglary, kidnapping, aircraft piracy, unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bombings; capital felony for purposes of avoiding lawful arrest or effecting escape from custody; capital felony for pecuniary gain; capital felony to hinder lawful exercise of governmental function or enforcement of laws; capital felony especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; premeditated homicide; victim of capital felony was public official or law enforcement officer engaged in official duties; victim of capital murder was less than 12 years old; criminal felony committed by a criminal street gang member.
Method of Execution Lethal injection, unless person sentenced to death elects for electrocution; if either or both found to be unconstitutional, then by any constitutional method

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Florida criminal attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Capital Punishment in the United States: A Brief History

The death penalty (or capital punishment) was broadly used in the American colonies prior to the Revolution, a mainstay of European criminal law at the time. But while the rest of Europe has since abandoned capital punishment, it remains in a number of U.S. states. The practice was banned by a 1972 Supreme Court case (Furman v. Georgia), but then reinstated four years later. However, the trend has been toward state abolition of capital punishment.

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