Circuit Court Pretrial Determination That State Lacked Evidence to Seek Death Penalty Consequences
In State v. Bloom, 497 So. 2d 2 (Fla. 1986), the Court addressed a question regarding the scope of prosecutorial discretion in seeking the death penalty when a circuit court made a pretrial determination that the State lacked sufficient evidence to seek the death penalty in a first-degree murder case.
The State sought a writ of prohibition, arguing that the trial court exceeded its authority.
The court agreed and held that under article II, section 3 of Florida's constitution, "the decision to charge and prosecute is an executive responsibility, and the state attorney has complete discretion in deciding whether and how to prosecute." Bloom, 497 So. 2d at 3.
The court have emphasized that "the judiciary has authority to curb pretrial prosecutorial discretion 'only in those instances where impermissible motives may be attributed to the prosecution, such as bad faith, race, religion, or a desire to prevent the exercise of the defendant's constitutional rights.'" State v. Donner, 500 So. 2d 532, 533 (Fla. 1987) (quoting Bloom, 497 So. 2d at 3);
See also Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598, 608, 105 S. Ct. 1524, 84 L. Ed. 2d 547 (1985) (explaining that to state a claim of selective prosecution for a crime, a petitioner must show that the enforcement system had a discriminatory effect and that it was motivated by a discriminatory purpose).