Juror Who Unequivocally Stated That He Would Not Recommend Mercy

In Thomas v. State, 403 So. 2d 371 (Fla. 1981), the court did hold that the trial court erred in denying a challenge for cause to a juror who unequivocally stated that he could not recommend mercy in a sentencing phase. Thomas, 403 So. 2d at 375. However, the venireperson in that case was responding specifically to questioning as to whether he could recommend a life sentence instead of the death penalty if the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. That juror indicated that he could not consider any mitigating factors, thereby implying that he would not recommend a life sentence. This Court concluded that the juror's strong feelings of bias precluded him from being an impartial juror. Id.