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BBC Radio Interviews Cashman on Florida Death Penalty

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BBC Radio reached out this week to the Department of Legal Studies for expert commentary on the scheduled execution of Florida inmate Micheal Lambrix on Feb. 11.

Patricia "Trish" Cashman (right), an Orlando-based criminal defense attorney and longtime adjunct faculty member for the department, spoke with BBC Radio host Peter Allen Jan. 12, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court declared Florida's death penalty law unconstitutional.

Allen interviewed Cashman for the Jan. 13 airing of the BBC's 
"5 live Daily" show.

Below is a transcript of her commentary.

The Supreme Court decided that the statutory scheme that Florida uses is unconstitutional. It does not require specific findings by the jury and instead the judge makes the decision whether aggravators have been proven. And so it gives us hope that they will not execute Michael Lambrix because he was sentenced to die under the statutory scheme that our Supreme Court now tells us is wrong.

The state can attempt to go forward with the execution. In the final words of the opinion, [the U.S. Supreme Court justices] remanded the Timothy Hurst case back to the Florida courts to comply with what they have said. And so Michael's case hopefully will be remanded back as well.

There's a question as to whether the state will try to argue harmless error and what they might try to do. Our Legislature starts its new session today. They might try to pass a new statute that they believe would be constitutional. However, there's a statute that's been on the books since the 1970s, when our death penalty was found unconstitutional before, and that states, under Florida law if the U.S. Supreme Court finds the death penalty unconstitutional or if our Florida Supreme Court does, then anyone under a sentence of death should be brought back to court and a life sentence should be imposed.

An audio recording of the segment is available until mid-February at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06vfcfv (segment begins at 02:42:37).

Cashman is also a member of the department's Legal Studies Advisory Board and volunteer coach for UCF Mock Trial. She is the author of a Guide to Criminal Law for Florida, published by Wadsworth and now in its 3rd edition.

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