Florida’s Ron DeSantis signs bill allowing death penalty for child rapists[Florida’s Ron DeSantis signs bill allowing death penalty for child rapists
May 2, 2023
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday that authorizes the use of the death penalty on convicted sex abusers of children.
The new law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, allows the Sunshine State to seek capital punishment when an adult is convicted of sexual battery of a child under 12.
While Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, the measure was co-sponsored by a Democrat and passed with bipartisan support.
DeSantis signed the bill despite a 2008 US Supreme Court ruling that found it unconstitutional for states to use capital punishment for crimes other than murder, setting the stage for a possible showdown at the high court.
“We’re really delivering a big agenda,” DeSantis said during the bill signing ceremony. “So this is one important — but admittedly very small part — of an overall large agenda and very bold agenda that’s really setting the terms of the debate for the country, quite frankly.”
Last month, DeSantis declared that capital punishment is the “only appropriate” sentence for child rapists.
“My view is, you have some of these people that will be serial rapists of six, seven-year-old kids,” DeSantis told “Good Morning Orlando”. “I think the death penalty is the only appropriate punishment when you have situations like that.”
Ron DeSantis signed a bill permitting the death penalty for child rapists.
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The new law is part of a series of tough-on-crime measures pushed and signed by DeSantis in his second term in the governor’s mansion.
Last month, he approved legislation removing the unanimous jury requirement for death penalty sentencing, allowing capital punishment with jury recommendations of at least 8-4 in favor of execution.
The governor also signed a bill that stiffens criminal penalties for selling so-called “rainbow fentanyl,” deadly drugs disguised to look like candy.
A 2008 US Supreme Court ruling found it unconstitutional for states to use capital punishment for crimes other than murder.
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DeSantis is expected to launch a 2024 run for the White House after Florida’s legislative session ends Friday.
His campaign war chest of more than $110 million is double the size of the GOP’s leading 2024 contender, former President Donald Trump.
Last week, Florida lawmakers passed an election reform bill that would allow DeSantis to launch a presidential campaign without resigning his governorship.