House, Senate bills would execute child rapists with supermajority juries

Eight jurors would be enough to impose capital punishment for sexual assault on a minor.

Bills filed in the Senate and House would enhance penalties for capital sexual battery on minors, allowing for execution without jury unanimity, a change clearly unconstitutional under current Supreme Court precedent.

Among other changes, SB 1342 and HB 1297 would pave the way for executing adults who raped children with a supermajority jury verdict, meaning that at least eight of 12 jurors concur. If fewer than eight jurors agree on execution, then the crimes would merit life imprisonment.

The bills from Sen. Jonathan Martin and Rep. Jessica Baker, first-term Republicans from Fort Myers and Jacksonville, respectively, would contravene cases Buford v. State of Florida and Kennedy v. Louisiana. In those two cases — Buford at the state level and Kennedy at the federal level — judges ruled against execution for sexual assault of children.

Martin and Baker are aware of the constitutional issues, calling those rulings an “egregious infringement of the states’ power to punish the most heinous of crimes.”

Aggravating factors would have to be in place to facilitate these executions, including a history of rape or sexual predation, the use of a firearm, financial gain, a “heinous, atrocious, or cruel” act, victim vulnerability, or the assailant holding a custodial position. Any one of these factors would suffice to impose the ultimate penalty.

Mitigating factors include the assailant having acted under duress or extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

Anyone sentenced to death under this proposed measure would have the recourse of federal appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and if the High Court holds that the new law is unconstitutional, the sentence would revert to life imprisonment.

The bill filings come as Gov. Ron DeSantis has floated supermajority capital punishment jury verdicts in recent weeks, using the atrocities perpetrated by the Parkland shooter as an illustrative example. The former student killed 17 people with an AR-15 on Valentine’s Day 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in one of the most infamous school shootings in American history.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • It's Complicated

    March 1, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    This is a campaign fodder setup for Democrats to vote against the bill, LOL! Not too many swing seats left for the Democrats to loose, though.

    On a side note, one of the reasons legislatures around the country ended the death penalty for rape was the thought that a rapist would have incentive to kill the victim to avoid leaving the primary witness to the crime alive to testify. DNA tech sort of negates that, now, but it is doubtful the majority of people who commit rape or murder (other than the serial killer variety) give much thought to details like that.

  • Bwj

    March 1, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    The state feels like it is becoming more and more draconian every day. I don’t condone the actions of the person that would hurt children, but the death penalty is excessive and inhumane. I fear that prosecutors would subvert the law to put people who commit a sexual assault to death no matter the circumstances.

  • Ron DeSantis Sucks

    March 1, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    As we all know, the one thing this state needs to do is waste more money putting people to death. Whatever happened to the sanctity of life, anyway?

  • Paul Passarelli

    March 1, 2023 at 8:59 pm

    I’m all for this, with a few *OBVIOUS* caveats.

    1) Romeo & Juliette exceptions. We don’t need to be weighing down the life of a young teen that is having relations with a reasonably similar aged crush. Obviously, this exception really only gets to be invoked *ONE* time, and if it is deemed credible then the incident needs to be *really* purged from the accused record. Not just sealed, but obliterated.

    2) Overzealous prosecutions for offenses that are not even closely related to sexual assault. The act of relieving oneself — even in sight of minors — is not sufficient to have *anyone* declared a sexual predator, no matter how often that particular violation occurs. I only bring this up because the issue is the death penalty.

    Other than that, the notion of an adult preying on children is so utterly disgusting, I would support the jury being able to impost novel & appropriate methods of imposing the death sentence on those so convicted. None of which need be ‘pleasant’ for the condemned.

    Just my $0.02

    • Bwj

      March 2, 2023 at 5:13 pm

      I would agree with you that there are people who have committed crimes that deserve to be locked up for life. I disagree with the idea of having a death penalty especially here with these charges. Over zealous prosecution, public outcry, and/or a political environment could execute someone whose crimes are not rape. I’m not condoning violence against children, but the death penalty already is anused because of those very reasons.

      • Paul Passarelli

        March 2, 2023 at 6:19 pm

        I’d like to offer a simple analogy:

        If a mangy coyote is killing & eating your livestock, you don’t capture the coyote, treat it’s skin so it’s not mangy, put a flea collar on it, then release it, and allow it to keep pilfering your farm.

        Every sexual predator that targets children needs to be put down. Some points are not debatable. You can try to offer debate, but you will still be wrong.

        And if the predator holds a public office, or any elected position of trust, then they need to be put down on national TV, while their family (parents & ancestors, spouse & siblings, plus children & descendants) watches!

        • Bwj

          March 2, 2023 at 10:54 pm

          Well, there’s the rub. Not all sexual offenses are the same. By your logic a person involved in a fatal car accident should receive the same punishment as a person who murders another human being.

          • Paul Passarelli

            March 3, 2023 at 12:50 am

            By your complete lack of logic, I can tell you’re not worth continuing the discussion.

            There is a huge difference between a fatal car *accident*, and intentionally driving a truck onto a crowded sidewalk with the intent of running down pedestrians! BTW; the guy who did the latter was a Progressive-Socialist.

            Maybe you can buffalo a lot of people with specious arguments, but I’m here to push back.

    • Bwj

      March 3, 2023 at 7:30 am

      Thank you for supporting my point that not all sex crimes are the same, with your reply that not all traffic fatalities are the same. I don’t think that sex offenses limit themselves to one political party or certain professions. I’ve seen cops arrested for committing sex crimes. Politicians, lawyers, teachers, and pastors.

      • Paul Passarelli

        March 3, 2023 at 10:13 am

        I don’t think you realized exactly what ‘point’ you were putting forth. You were arguing that no criminal deserves the ultimate penalty for their deliberate crimes.

        I’m arguing that the law needs to establish a legal criteria that is even stricter than ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ which is high, but still not high enough. My point is that if the prosecution can prove a case of criminal action and intent ‘beyond then shadow of a doubt’, then the imposition of the absolute penalty, swiftly is and should be the inevitable outcome.

        My position further includes provisions to check that power. If the prosecutor, police, witnesses, etc are ever proven to have *knowingly* acted fraudulently, with malice, or subverted the process, then they would be subject to severe criminal penalties! But that’s a discussion for another thread.

        • Bwj

          March 3, 2023 at 10:48 am

          The death penalty is not about justice for the victims. It is about revenge for the survivors, the public, and politicians. The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. Innocent people have been convicted because prosecutors and law enforcement have been over zealous for a conviction.

  • Paul Passarelli

    March 1, 2023 at 9:05 pm

    To all the people that say that the State is becoming too harsh:

    You need to look at why the pendulum is swinging. If you can’t see it’ I’ll tell you. It’s because or more than six decades of Leftwing, Progressive-Socialist, commie-pinko, neo-liberal toleration of depravity. You have destroyed the sense of community, and allowed the disease to fester in our midsts. The pustules are finally breaking through to the surface, and we’re beginning to drain the infections.

    Stay tuned, soon we will begin to excise the diseased tissues even more deeply. I’m sure it will be painful for the sickest.

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      March 2, 2023 at 2:21 pm

      Nah. All this crying from the GOP and people like you are just a loud minority of dying Boomers who can’t handle that the world around them has changed. You people feel a lot better about yourselves when you have somebody to oppress. Because people like you are small & petty. And becoming more irrelevant by the hour.

      I have news for you Paul. The entire culture is WOKE. Nobody really cares anymore who is gay, who is trans, what anybodies pronouns are, what god they believe in (or don’t believe it, who is sleeping with who, or what color anybody is. This is mainstream thought across most of the Western World now.
      The ones who can’t accept that, and still hold onto hate are a dying breed.

      And only a fool thinks that some Big Government action by a Mini Mussolini like Desantis can stop it.

      • Paul Passarelli

        March 2, 2023 at 2:45 pm

        I give you points for the one correct statement you made: The world has changed. However, it has not changed for the better.

        The issue is not about oppressing anyone for what they are, or were when they were free. The issue is about convicted felons — felons that committed horrible – stomach turning – crimes according to anyone’s objective standards. Excluding a tiny minority of similar sexual deviants.

        You claim the entire culture is Woke. Well, I have news for you, that might be true in your echo chamber, but it’s decidedly not true in the real world. While the Western World[sic] has become tolerant, you are mistaken to assume that those of who escaped indoctrination are going to *embrace* the deviant culture. It’s not hate. It’s an affront to our upbringing.

        What you don’t seem to understand is that by shoving everything back in our faces, that eventually the Left would reach the point of the straw that breaks the camel’s back. (Do they still teach that fable?)

        I submit to you that I don’t care if you have been having sex with other men for decades, in the privacy of your own home, in or out of the closet. But when you come out and insist that your pronouns are ‘ze’, ‘hir’, or ‘xe’, and we *MUST* observe your delusion, you should have expected pushback.

        If you had read my other comments you’d’ve learned that I’m concerned with the state having too much unbridled power. Your ignorance belies your “Dr.” pronoun, so I shall not use it when I refer to you in the 3rd person. And yes I did assume your gender, and will continue to do so in the future. That’s the way I was raised, even if it is a Fake Alias.


        • Dr. Franklin Waters

          March 2, 2023 at 4:29 pm

          Ok Boomer

          • Paul Passarelli

            March 2, 2023 at 6:07 pm

            OK, I’ll admit it, that made me laugh.
            I’ll also take it as a graceful concession.


      March 7, 2023 at 11:28 am

      Excellent observation, argument, and reasoning. You have my backing 100%!

  • Paul Passarelli

    March 3, 2023 at 10:59 am

    I see eliminating some convicted felons as sweeping the shit away from the kitchen door. If you’re OK with filthy feet being dragged into the most important room of a home, then you have completely missed the point. Locking up irredeemable criminals is equivalent to clearing the shit, but then using the same filthy broom to clear the countertops.

    I’ve already said there needs to be distinctions & protections. But eliminating the most effective tools from the array of choices is foolish.


    March 7, 2023 at 11:20 am

    Good, do it! Get this bill in and protect the children.

Comments are closed.


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