In March of this year Florida Legislators made a change in the death penalty laws, requiring only a 10-2 vote by jurors to impose the death penalty. In an article published by the Daily Record, Bill Sheppard is quoted as being "dumbfounded" by the change. Sheppard has defended many clients in death penalty cases over the course of his career as a prominent criminal defense attorney, including Gary Alvord.
At almost 40 years, Alvord spent more time on death row than any other inmate in the country. When asked about the Legislature's attempt this year, Sheppard said, " I think it was a waste. The law should have been changed to require a unanimous decision."
This month the Florida Supreme Court rejected the Legislature's change, stating that a unanimous jury decision was required in death penalty cases. This is the second time this year the system has been impacted by a court ruling.
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