Middleton v. State

The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s motion for rehearing and substituted this revised opinion for its previous opinion issued October 22, 2015 in order to consider Appellant’s claim that he was entitled to a new penalty phase under Hurst v. Florida, 477 U.S. ___ (2016) and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The court affirmed Appellant’s conviction of first-degree murder and sentence of death, holding (1) the trial court erred in finding the avoid arrest aggravator and the cold, calculated and premeditated aggravator, but the errors were harmless; (2) Appellant’s death sentence was proportional; (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to continue the penalty phase to set the order of penalty phase witnesses; (4) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defense funds to appoint a mitigation specialist; (5) the trial court appropriately performed the individualized sentencing required for death penalty cases; (6) the trial court did not err in denying Appellant’s motion to suppress his videotaped confession; (7) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; (8) the felony murder aggravator is constitutional; and (9) any Hurst error during Appellant’s penalty phase proceedings was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Middleton v. State" on Justia Law