DeSantis-Backed Bill Allowing Death Penalty for Child Rapists Advances

A bill backed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allowing for a jury determination of a death penalty sentence for child rapists was approved by the state Senate Rules Committee Tuesday.
Screenshot: CBS New York YouTube Channel

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.

RELATED: Trump Looking To Expand Death Penalty – Even Firing Squads – For Violent Criminals, Drug Dealers

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.

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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.

RELATED: Trump Announces Plan to Combat Crime – Record Investment in Police Officers, Return of Stop-and-Frisk Policies

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.

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.”

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.

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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Rusty Weiss has been covering politics for over 15 years. His writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, Fox... More about Rusty Weiss

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