The Florida Supreme Court was supposed to be in recess for it's summer vacation until Monday August 21, so nobody expected the court to take any action on cases until then. But to our surprise, on August 10, 2017, the FSC issued an opinion in Hitchcock v State, Case No. SC17-445 that summarily rejected the challenge to the FSC ruling last year in which the FSC recognized that all non unanimous death sentences were illegally imposed - but decided that any of these sentences that were "final" prior to June, 2002 would be allowed to stand.
What the 4 member majority said that they don't care if they were wrong in Asay v State and they will not allow the issue to be debated further in the state courts. Both Justice Pariente and Justice Lewis wrote separate opinions giving their opinion as to why the majority clearly is wrong.
Although rehearing on the Hitchcock case is not due until August 25, Florida has Mark Asay scheduled for execution on Thursday August 24 (NOTE: Mark Asay has been executed on August 24, 2017) and this Hitchcock ruling directly affects Asay. In fact, on August 15 the FSC denied Asay's pending appeals challenging this partial retro activity rule as well as Florida;s lethal injection protocol that uses a drug that has never been previously used by any state. Will the Court allow Florida to proceed to put Asay to death even though there's no question that he was illegally condemned to death?
And the sad commentary on the American Justice system is that they do that only too often - we call it "death by default" and it's applied throughout the legal system regularly, and especially in capital cases. they commonly call this concept "procedural default". This Hurst issue is a good example of how this "the ends justifies the means" mentality has infected the entire process - even when they know the evidence shows someone is actually innocent of a crime (or illegally sentenced to death), the courts refuse to address the issue by applying procedural rules they've created and proceed to put the person to death.
If the US Supreme Court will accept review of this partial retro activity rule then it will almost certainly result in having up to 200 illegally imposed death sentences thrown out, leaving only a handful of those sentenced to death on Florida's death row. But if the US Supreme Court refuses to accept review then Florida will begin to carry out it's record number of executions again - and there's a good chance that Governor Scott will reschedule my own execution again if Asay is indeed executed, as I'm the only person, other than Asay, still under an active death warrant.
Although I do have other appeals already pending in the courts - mostly focused on evidence substantiating my claim of innocence, but also challenging this same "partial retro activity" rule, but it wouldn't make any difference to Governor Scott as he has signed (and rescheduled) death warrants on others with legitimate appeals pending.