Florida's high court takes turn on death penalty

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Possibly showing its hand on the future of capital punishment in Florida, the state Supreme Court by a 5-2 vote on Wednesday forbid the state from imposing the death penalty in pending prosecutions, only to withdraw the order hours later as "prematurely issued."

The unusual retraction was made necessary by an "internal error," according to the statement issued by court spokesman Craig Waters.

The result leaves prosecutors in a troubling limbo, signaling that they may be taking a risk if they pursue the death penalty in murder cases at this time.

One prosecutor said the Florida Legislature needs to act quickly to craft a death penalty law that passes constitutional scrutiny.