Andres v. Florida

Andres was convicted of first-degree murder, armed burglary with assault or battery, first-degree arson, and armed robbery for crimes that resulted in the death of the occupant of a Miami apartment where Andres was performing renovation work. After the penalty phase, the jury recommended a sentence of death by a vote of nine to three. The court imposed a sentence of death. On direct appeal, the Supreme Court of Florida affirmed Andres’ conviction for first-degree murder but vacated his death sentence. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to conduct a full Richardson hearing after determining that a witness’s trial testimony was merely a clarification of his prior deposition testimony. The court also rejected claims concerning evidentiary rulings and alleged improper burden shifting. The court remanded for a new penalty phase. Andres’ sentence was imposed under the capital sentencing scheme found to violate the Sixth Amendment in the Supreme Court’s holding, Hurst v. Florida, The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a death sentence. A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough. The court imposed Andres’ death sentence following the jury’s nonunanimous recommendation of death. It is not clear why the dissenting jurors voted for a life sentence, so the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Andres v. Florida" on Justia Law