TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State attorneys are looking to lend support to Attorney General Ashley Moody in a potentially far-reaching case about Florida’s death-penalty sentencing system.
The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which is made up of state attorneys and assistant state attorneys across the state, asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday for permission to take part in the case and to sign on to Moody’s position.
The case involves whether changes made in the death-penalty sentencing system in 2016 should continue to be applied retroactively to cases dating to 2002.
The Florida Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that the changes should be applied retroactively, allowing dozens of Death Row inmates to have their death sentences reconsidered.
The 2016 changes were prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said Florida’s death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional.
After Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed three new justices early this year, the Florida Supreme Court in April issued an order that sought arguments from attorneys about whether it should reverse course on the retroactivity issue.
If it does reverse course, the sentencing changes likely would only be applied to new death-penalty cases -- not retroactively to older cases.
Moody’s office last week filed a brief that urged justices to end the retroactive application of the changes.
The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association said in the filing Thursday that it also wants to adopt that position, adding that the “outcome of this (Supreme) Court's ruling will have impact throughout the state of Florida in the administration of justice.”