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Florida Supreme Court rules new death penalty law unconstitutional

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the state's new death penalty law is unconstitutional because it does not require juries to be unanimous in recommending capital punishment.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the state's new death penalty law is unconstitutional because it does not require juries to be unanimous in recommending capital punishment.

Executions in Florida, home to the nation's second-largest death row, have been on hold since the U.S. Supreme Court in January struck down the state's death penalty sentencing laws.

The high court's 8-1 ruling invalidated the process by which a judge sentenced Timothy Hurst to death for the 1998 murder of a fried-chicken restaurant manager. The ruling found that Florida had given judges powers that juries should wield in determining eligibility for execution.

The Florida legislature responded to the ruling this spring by rewriting the state's death sentencing laws. Legislators passed a law requiring at least 10 of 12 jurors to support capital punishment in murder cases, instead of a simple majority.

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