Vague Description of An Aggravating Circumstance Makes It Invalid

In Espinosa v. Florida, 505 U.S. 1079, 120 L. Ed. 2d 854, 112 S. Ct. 2926 (1992), the Supreme Court held that "an aggravating circumstance is invalid . . . if its description is so vague as to leave the sentencer without sufficient guidance for determining the presence or absence of the factor." 505 U.S. at 1081. The Court then proceeded to declare the precise "especially wicked, evil, atrocious, or cruel" instruction given Walton's jury in the instant case invalid under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. See id. at 1082. Further, the instructions given with regard to two of the other aggravators were insufficient under this Court's decisional law. Application of the "committed for the purpose of avoiding lawful arrest" aggravator "requires strong proof that the dominant motive for the murder was witness elimination." Zack v. State, 753 So. 2d 9, 20 (Fla. 2000); see also Clark v. State, 443 So. 2d 973 (Fla. 1983); Pope v. State, 441 So. 2d 1073 (Fla. 1983).