After a more than a year and a half, Governor Rick Scott has signed his next death warrant for Death Row inmate Mark James Asay.
Asay, a white man, was convicted in 1988 for the murders of two men. If Asay’s execution, scheduled for August 24, 2017 at 6:00 p.m., happens, it will be the first time in Florida that a white inmate is executed for the crime of murdering a black victim, according to a former Florida Supreme Court Justice.
Now that Gov. Scott has signed the death warrant for Asay, the Florida Supreme Court has decided to expedite all related legal proceedings in the case.
Asay’s legal team is expected to try to prevent the execution. In anticipation of the filings, the Florida Supreme Court set a timeline. July 28 is the deadline for finishing circuit-court proceedings. August 2, August, 3 and August, 7 are the three dates for brief filings at the Supreme Court. Oral arguments at the Supreme Court would be scheduled later, if necessary.
In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Florida’s death-penalty sentencing process as unconstitutional. The specific case was Hurst v. Florida. As a result of the SCOTUS ruling, the Florida death penalty was in limbo as other court rulings and legislative action were pending.
Now, in the state of Florida, per the legislature, in order to receive the death penalty, a unanimous decision by juries to use a death sentence is required.
This current death warrant for Asay is his second. His first warrant scheduled the execution for March 2016. It was put on hold after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Hurst v. Florida. In December, the court lifted the say of executions, including Asay’s.
“This is one of the governor’s most solemn duties involving decisions that are made only after a full and thorough review. His foremost concerns are the families of the victims and the finality of judgments,” Communications Director for Gov. Scott John Tupps said.
Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., was the last inmate executed in Florida on Janaury 7, 2016.