Capital crimes are felonies that are punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. In Florida, those crimes include first-degree murder, felony murder, capital sexual battery and capital drug trafficking. At this writing, more than 400 people are awaiting execution on Death Row in the Florida State Prison in Starke. Only California has more inmates awaiting execution.
The Florida Supreme Court requires that an attorney who represents a client charged with first degree murder must be “capital qualified.” This means that the attorney must have specific qualifications and meet certain requirements.
He must have at least 5 years of criminal trial experience and prior experience as the lead counsel in at least 9 serious and complex trials, including at least 3 murder cases. He must meet a set of education requirements, including at least 12 hours of continuing education devoted to the defense of capital cases. He must be familiar with the use of expert witnesses such as psychiatrists, and forensic evidence like DNA. He must have tried at least two capital punishment cases to completion before a jury as co-counsel. The Florida Legislature and the Florida Courts have established these extraordinary requirements for attorneys in these cases because a person’s life depends on the outcome.
Many lawyers advertise themselves as “death penalty lawyers,” or claim that they specialize in capital cases, but only a small percentage of Florida lawyers actually meet the requirements of the American Bar Association and the Florida Guidelines surrounding capital crimes. Jerome Stone is one of those few.
If you have been accused of a capital crime, please contact our office for a free case consultation. The attorneys at Stone & Capobianco specialize in all types of Criminal Defense law including aggravated assault, aggravated Battery, disorderly conduct, DUI/DWI, drug Crimes, manslaughter, murder and theft crimes. If you have any questions, please contact our firm today. Call 772-781-4357 today or fill out our client form here.