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Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700261: Criminal Procedures; the Accused; the Victims by Loyal Millett

ARTICLE I: DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, Section 15. Prosecution for crime; offenses committed by children.


Prosecution for crime; offenses committed by children; mental condition not a defense; conjugal rights prohibited.

  1. No person shall be tried for capital crime without presentment or indictment by a grand jury, or for other felony without such presentment or indictment or an information under oath filed by the prosecuting officer of the court, except persons on active duty in the militia when tried by courts martial.
  2. When authorized by law, a child as therein defined may be charged with a violation of law as an act of delinquency instead of crime and tried without a jury or other requirements applicable to criminal cases. Any child so charged shall, upon demand made as provided by law before a trial in a juvenile proceeding, be tried in an appropriate court as an adult. A child found delinquent shall be disciplined as provided by law.
  3. Mental condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct.
  4. Conjugal rights for incarcerated felons are prohibited.


Catchline: Plea bargains prohibited.

(a) The practice of plea bargaining is strictly prohibited in the State of Florida.

(b) "Plea bargaining" means an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor, in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or nolo contendere in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to drop one or more charges, reduce a charge to a less serious offense, or recommend to the judge a specific sentence acceptable to the defense.


Catchline: Capital punishment process.

(a) The right of victims of crime to a prompt and final conclusion provided includes the right to have judgments of death carried out within a reasonable time.

(b) If a court fails to comply without extraordinary and compelling reasons justifying the delay, either party or any victim of the offense may seek relief by petition for writ of mandate. The court in which the petition is filed shall act on it within 60 days of filing.

(c)(1) It is the duty of the Supreme Court in a capital case to expedite the review of the case. The court shall appoint counsel for an indigent appellant as soon as possible. The court shall only grant extensions of time for briefing for compelling or extraordinary reasons.

(2) When necessary to remove a substantial backlog in appointment of counsel for capital cases, the Supreme Court shall require attorneys who are qualified for appointment to the most serious non-capital appeals and who meet the qualifications for capital appeals to accept appointment in capital cases as a condition for remaining on the court’s appointment list. A substantial backlog exists for this purpose when the time from entry of judgment in the trial court toappointment of counsel for appeal exceeds six months over a period of twelve consecutive months.


(d)(1) This subsection applies to any petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by a person in custody pursuant to a judgment of death. A writ of habeas corpus pursuant to this subsection is the exclusive procedure for collateral attack on a judgment of death. A petition filed in any court other than the court which imposed the sentence should be promptly transferred to that court unless good cause is shown for the petition to be heard by another court. A petition filed in or transferred to the court which imposed the sentence shall be assigned to the original trial judge unless that judge is unavailable or there is other good cause to assign the case to a different judge.

(2) After the entry of a judgment of death in the trial court, that court shall offer counsel to the prisoner.

(3) The initial petition must be filed within one year of the order.

(4) Proceedings under this subsection shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible consistent with a fair adjudication. The circuit court shall resolve the initial petition within one year of filing unless the court finds that a delay is necessary to resolve a substantial claim of actual innocence, but in no instance shall the court take longer than two years to resolve the petition. On decision of an initial petition, the court shall issue a statement of decision explaining the factual and legal basis for its decision.

(e) Every person found guilty of murder, sentenced to death, and held by the Florida Department of Corrections, or its successor agency, shall be required to work as many hours of faithful labor each day he or she is so held as shall be prescribed the rules and regulations of the Department. Physical education and physical fitness programs shall not qualify as work for purposes of this section. The Florida Department of Corrections, or its successor agency, may revoke the privileges of any condemned inmate who refuses to work as required by this section.

(f) Every person, upon whom has been imposed the judgment of death, shall be delivered to the Warden of the Florida State Prison designated by the Department for the execution of the death penalty. The inmate shall be kept in a Florida prison until execution of the judgment. The Department may transfer the inmate to another prison which it determines to provide a level of security sufficient for that inmate. The inmate shall be returned to the prison designated for execution of the death penalty after an execution date has been set.

(g)(1) The sentence of death shall be carried out by any of the following methods:

(A) lethal injection;

(B) gas chamber;

(C) hanging; or

(D) firing squad.

(2) If any of the aforesaid methods of execution is declared unconstitutional, the remaining methods shall remain valid.

(h) If any portion of this section is declared unconstitutional, the remainder thereof shall remain valid.