Death Penalty Vacated and Case Remanded
Deputy Barbara Pill of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Killed In the Line of Duty (March 2017)
Deputy Barbara Pill, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Written by: Kenneth E. Rhoden, Esquire
Here in the Melbourne / Brevard area we all remember Deputy Barbara Pill. A devoted officer and 52 year old well loved member of the community who was shot and killed by Brandon Lee Bradley. The shooting happened March 6, 2012 during a traffic stop by Deputy Pill. Bradley was tried and convicted for his crimes and the jury in his case found 10 – 2 in favor of the death penalty. A sentence of death was imposed upon him by the court. He was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, fleeing and eluding and resisting arrest in 2014 (June).
Those of us in the local area remember the day of this tragic killing and the process of the trial of Brandon Lee Bradley. It was on our televisions and radios through out Palm Bay, West Melbourne, Indialantic, Titusville and every place in between. This case did reach national media and got a lot of attention.
The appeals began almost immediately and the case disputing the legality of the death sentence ended up in the Florida Supreme Court under the caption of SC14-1412 Brandon Lee Bradley v. State of Florida.
The case was heard by Florida’s Supreme Court in 2016 and the court issued their opinion today, March 30, 2017. The court vacated (and remanded) Brandon Lee Bradley’s death penalty sentence saying, “We vacate his sentence of death and remand for a new sentencing proceeding,” (SC14-1412, 2017, Florida Supreme Court). However the Court did not disturb the Circuit Court’s convictions for the multiple crimes. The Court’s opinion was a lengthy 18 pages long. It will be several weeks before the court process begins again to set a new sentence.
Last year, January, SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States) issued a ruling in another case requiring a unanimous jury vote for the death penalty to be applied. That decision by SCOTUS caused issues with death sentences around the State of Florida.
Brandon Lee Bradley used that SCOTUS case in his appeals. The Florida Supreme Court opinion states, “[Bradley argues] Florida’s death penalty scheme is unconstitutional in light of Hurst v. Florida because a jury did not find all facts necessary to sentence him to death. We agree,” … continuing with “Because the nonunanimous jury in this [Bradley] case did not make such findings, we cannot find the error harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means Bradley’s death sentence could not stand.
Our firm can handle death penalty or capital crime cases. There are specific requirements for attorneys to be able to represent those accused with capital crimes and few private attorneys qualify to do so.
Rhoden Law Group serving you from offices in Rockledge (Main), Melbourne (by appt), and Eau Gallie (by appt). Call or text 321-549-3162.