DeSantis-Backed Bill Allowing Death Penalty for Child Rapists Advances
A bill backed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allowing for capital punishment for child rapists was advanced by the state Senate Rules Committee Tuesday.
The bill allows a jury to determine by a vote of at least 8-4 to recommend a death sentence for sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.
There must be at least two aggravating factors present in the crime – the assault must be determined to be “heinous, atrocious or cruel” while the victim must be “especially vulnerable.”
DeSantis has endorsed the tougher capital punishment standard, indicating it is the “only appropriate punishment” for such crimes.
DeSantis has said he thinks the current, conservative-majority Supreme Court may be willing to revisit an earlier ruling and allow the death penalty in child rape cases. https://t.co/gpt9UG7x6T
— The News Herald (@The_News_Herald) April 11, 2023
DeSantis-Backed Death Penalty Bill For Child Rapists Could Prompt Supreme Court Review
As Javier Manjarres of The Floridian reports, the Florida House is scheduled to take up a version of the bill on Thursday.
If it advances in the House – Republicans control the chamber 84-35 – coupled with the Senate Rules Committee decision on Tuesday, the bill would then move on to the full Senate.
A bigger fight may be looming, however. Namely at the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court reporter Kaelen Deese at the Washington Examiner points out that the bill directly challenges a 2008 Supreme Court ruling involving a Lousiana law.
The ruling determined the death penalty could not be applied to child rape because it would constitute a form of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Advancement of the Florida bill could lead to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 Republican-appointed majority to examine a revision of the 2008 precedent.
A bill introduced by Florida lawmakers would defy SCOTUS precedent by allowing capital punishment for felons who commit sexual battery on young children if signed into law by @GovRonDeSantis.https://t.co/EpKloK1Vkk
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 11, 2023
Trump Also Seeking to Expand Death Penalty
The fact that DeSantis is backing expansion of the death penalty in Florida puts him on the same wavelength of former President Donald Trump, who has been advocating for further implementation of capitol punishment for some time.
Trump has been a strong proponent of capital punishment, advocating for the death penalty for individuals that murder police officers during his 2020 presidential campaign.
“We’re not going to let bad things happen to our police,” President Trump says. “We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty. Bring it forth.” pic.twitter.com/Pyfd3ONDHp
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 15, 2018
Trump also suggested the death penalty could deter drug dealers.
“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty,” he explained. “By the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”
Pres. Trump on drug dealers: “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty—the ultimate penalty. And by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.” pic.twitter.com/bundqIiSMQ
— ABC News (@ABC) March 1, 2018
A report surfaced earlier this year claiming Trump would also like to deter crime in America by expanding the use of the death penalty for violent criminals and drug dealers, even so far as to suggest airing live executions on television.
That report was disputed by his campaign.
“The article adds that “Trump has talked about bringing back death by firing squad, by hanging, and, according to two of the sources, possibly even by guillotine.”https://t.co/Iv9g3oMJYj
— Jack Poso ?? (@JackPosobiec) February 14, 2023
Governor DeSantis slammed child predators as being irredeemable during a news conference in January.
“These people don’t care. They are unrepentant,” DeSantis said. “I believe the only appropriate punishment that would be commensurate to that would be capital.”
DeSantis vowed to “cement” Florida’s “reputation as being a law-and-order state.”
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