The purpose of this page is to provide additional resources related to Florida’s death penalty and capital punishment more broadly for those who are interested in learning more and getting involved. For the most part, I’ve included resources that I have authored personally.
Series from Tracking Florida’s Death Penalty
Five-Part Series on Hurst v. Florida
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Florida’s capital sentencing statute was unconstitutional. Chaos ensued. This five-part series explains what happened and how it affected capital sentencing in the state.
Part I - the background that led to Hurst v. Florida
Part II - the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida and the Florida Supreme Court’s decision on remand
Part III - the Florida Supreme Court’s decisions interpreting and applying Hurst
Part IV - Florida’s courts address a wave of legislation after Hurst
Part V - the change in the U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court and the overturning of Hurst II
In addition, this post has a timeline summarizing the information in the five-part series.
Three-Part Prison Tour Series
In March 2023, I had the opportunity to attend the Judge Marvin Mounts Prison Tour, on which we toured six facilities within the Florida Department of Corrections prison system. This series explains my experience and what I learned:
Preface to the series
Part I - Lake Correctional Institution and Sumter Correctional Institution
Part II - Lowell Correctional Institution and Reception and Medical Center
Part III - Union Correctional Institution and Florida State Prison
Information about Capital Punishment
The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) is a great resource for research, data, and statistics related to capital punishment across the country.
Melanie Kalmanson, America Will Have to Face Death In 2024, Huff Post (Sept. 7, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson, Florida's execution planned this week shows the inadequacy of procedures for determining insanity, Sun Sentinel (June 14, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson, Gov. DeSantis approves legislation compensating Tampa man for wrongful conviction, City & State Fla. (June 9, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson & Kimberly Cioffi, Sentenced to death - by dying while waiting on Florida's death row, City & State Fla. (June 7, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson, Continuing the spree of executions, the State bears the cost of supporting DeSantis’ expected White House bid, City & State Fla. (May 17, 2023)
Maria DeLiberato & Melanie Kalmanson, Florida’s death penalty laws are the worst in the nation, Orlando Sentinel (May 2, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson & Maria DeLiberato, Florida’s death penalty: As capricious as lightning strikes | Opinion, Sun Sentinel (Apr. 12, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson & Maria DeLiberato, Ron DeSantis Is Luring Supreme Court to Overturn Landmark Precedent Again, Slate (Apr. 10, 2023)
Dan Sullivan, How do Florida juries decide if someone deserves the death penalty?, Tampa Bay Times (Apr. 7, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson, Florida’s recklessness with death, Tallahassee Democrat (Apr. 6, 2023)
An outrageous death penalty proposal, even for Florida | Editorial, Sun Sentinel (Mar. 27, 2023)
Maria DeLiberato & Melanie Kalmanson, Florida poised to become the most death penalty friendly state, Miami Herald (Mar. 23, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson & Maria DeLiberato, Opinion: Facts and politics collide in debate over this year’s death penalty overhaul, City & State Fla. (Mar. 11, 2023)
Maurice Chammah, The Mercy Workers, The Marshall Project (Mar. 2, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson, Explainer: How the state of Florida prepares for an execution, City & State Fla. (Feb. 21, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson & Maria DeLiberato, Florida’s new death penalty proposal has constitutional issues, Sun Sentinel (Feb. 11, 2023)
Melanie Kalmanson & Maria DeLiberato, Opinion: Florida shouldn't be different when it comes to death penalty, City & State Fla. (Feb. 1, 2023)
Law Review Articles
Melanie Kalmanson & Nathan Molina, Ring and Hurst Retroactivity: Deconstructing Divergent Doctrines, Conn. Pub. Interest L.J. (2023) - This article reviews and explains the caselaw surrounding the retroactivity of Ring v. Arizona (2002) and Hurst v. Florida (2016). Read here.
Melanie Kalmanson, Somewhere Between Death Row and Death Watch: The Procedural Trap Capital Defendants Face in Raising Execution-Related Claims, U. Penn. J.L. & Pub. Affairs (2020) - This article discusses the difficulties capital defendants face in raising and litigating warrant- and execution-related claims. Read here.
Melanie Kalmanson, Storm of the Decade: The Aftermath of Hurst v. Florida & Why the Storm Is Likely to Continue, U. Miami L. Rev. Caveat (2020) - This article reviews outstanding issues following the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst on remand. Read here.
The article cited above was the sequel to Professor Craig Trocino and Chance Meyer’s article, Hurst v. Florida’s Ha’p’orth of Tar: The Need to Revisit Caldwell, Clemons, and Proffitt, U. Miami L. Rev. (2016), which was published between Hurst v. Florida and Hurst. Read here.
Melanie Kalmanson, The Difference of One Vote or One Day: Reviewing the Demographics of Florida’s Death Row After Hurst v. Florida, U. Miami L. Rev. (2020) - This article reviews the demographics of Florida’s death row when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Hurst v. Florida in 2016, including how they fared in light of the Court’s decisions interpreting and applying Hurst. Read here.
Hannah L. Gorman & Margot Ravenscroft, Hurricane Florida: The Hot and Cold Fronts of America’s Most Active Death Row, Columbia Human Rights L. Rev. (2020) - This article is similar to the one above. If there is any conflict, I defer to Hannah. Read here.
Melanie Kalmanson, Steps Toward Abolishing Capital Punishment: Incrementalism in the American Death Penalty, William & Mary Bill Rights J. (2020) - This article discusses how capital punishment has been incrementally narrowed since Furman v. Georgia and the probably next steps in the incremental process toward abolition. Read here.
More Perfect, “Cruel and Unusual” (June 2, 2016)
Episode 34, “Capital Punishment and the Nikolas Cruz Case,” with Robert Dunham, former Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center
Episode 46, "The Juvenile Brain and Criminal Culpability," with Dr. Robert Kinscherff, executive director of the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Judge Jay Blitzman, law professor and interim executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Episode 53, “Florida: The Death State?”, with former Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center
Episode 65, “Florida’s New Capital Punishment Regime,” with Melanie Kalmanson of Tracking Florida’s Death Penalty
Let the Lord Sort Them by Maurice Chammah (2022)
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (2007)
Courting Death by Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker (2016)
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014)
If you are an attorney and are interested in representing someone sentenced to death, consider contacting the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project. The Project’s mission is to “improve the quality and availability of legal representation for persons facing possible death sentences.” The Project does not take a stance on advocating for or against capital punishment. The Project is a great resource for connecting capital defendants across the country with pro bono counsel.