Is Murder In the Course of Felony Aggravator An Unconstitutional Automatic Aggravator ?
The Supreme Court of Florida has repeatedly rejected the argument that the murder in the course of a felony aggravator is an unconstitutional automatic aggravator.
Reed v. State, 875 So. 2d at 437-38;
Owen v. State, 862 So. 2d 687, 704 (Fla. 2003);
Johnson v. Moore, 837 So. 2d 343, 348 (Fla. 2002);
Blanco v. State, 706 So. 2d 7, 11 (Fla. 1997).
In Blanco, this Court stated:
Eligibility for this aggravating circumstance is not automatic: the list of enumerated felonies in the provision defining felony murder is larger than the list of enumerated felonies in the provision defining the aggravating circumstance of commission during the course of an enumerated felony.
A person can commit felony murder via trafficking, carjacking, aggravated stalking, or unlawful distribution, and yet be ineligible for this particular aggravating circumstance.
This scheme thus narrows the class of death-eligible defendants. 706 So. 2d at 11.