JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pointing to the lack of a unanimous jury recommendation, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new sentencing hearing for a Death Row inmate convicted in the 2012 stabbing and strangulation death of a Jacksonville woman.
Justices upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Dennis Glover in the slaying of a neighbor, Sandra Allen, but vacated his death sentence.
The ruling, like numerous others in recent months, was rooted in a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Hurst v. Florida and a subsequent Florida Supreme Court decision.
The 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found Florida's death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional because it gave too much authority to judges, instead of juries.
The subsequent Florida Supreme Court ruling said juries must unanimously agree on critical findings before judges can impose death sentences and must unanimously recommend the death penalty.
In Glover's case, the jury recommended the death penalty in a 10-2 vote.
“(Because) we cannot say that there is no reasonable possibility the Hurst error contributed to the sentence, the error in Glover's sentencing is not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt,” the court majority said in Thursday's opinion.