Gov. DeSantis signs bill authorizing supermajority jury votes for execution for child rapists

RON DESANTIS BILL SIGNING (11)
'These are really the worst of the worst.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that would allow for a two-thirds jury vote for the execution of child rapists, challenging judicial precedent in the defense of some of the most helpless victims of criminal predators.

“We are making clear that in Florida, we stand for the protection of children,” DeSantis said in Titusville.

HB 1297, a bill allowing for execution of rapists of children under the age of 12 without jury unanimity, targets “very heinous sex crimes committed against children under the age of 12 years old,” DeSantis said.

“These are really the worst of the worst,” DeSantis added, referencing “serial offenders” who “will do it again” if left to their own devices.

The legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate and House both, challenges precedent banning non-unanimous juries in death penalty cases and capital punishment for sexual assault, following in the footsteps of legislation signed last month (HB 555) allowing for supermajority jury verdicts to decide on execution for murder.

“We’re putting pedophiles to death, hopefully,” DeSantis said ahead of the signing.

2020 Florida Supreme Court decision (State v. Poole) removed the requirement that a jury be unanimous when agreeing on a death sentence. But the Legislature needs to pass a law describing under what circumstances the death penalty will be imposed, which this bill would constitute.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016’s Hurst v. Florida that a simple majority would be insufficient to execute, but it’s clear the supermajority may be considered a compromise by the Governor that could fly with a more conservative court.

“This bill challenges the U.S. Supreme Court for recently deciding … 5-4, after 200 years of our Constitution being in place, that you could never have capital punishment for, like, rape,” DeSantis said.

The bill contravenes 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.

“This bill sets up a procedure to be able to challenge that precedent,” DeSantis said.

Senate sponsor Jonathan Martin credited “this Governor” with the impetus for this bill, thanking DeSantis for his leadership in urging the Supreme Court to “reconsider this.”

“He’s standing between the child molesters and the wokeism (and our kids). We need to continue to support him and maybe someday he’ll have more of a decision on these federal judges,” Martin said.

A former prosecutor, Martin said “sexual batteries on children” were the worst crimes he dealt with.

“There is no worse heartbreak than seeing a little kid recount the horrible things that were done to them,” Martin said. “I don’t understand how we can have federal judges who don’t understand how we can put the worst of the worst to death.”

In the case of the execution of child rapists, aggravating factors would have to be in play 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. Two of these factors would suffice to impose the ultimate penalty, but all jurors would have to agree on the aggravating factors.

A.G. Gancarski

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


6 comments

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 1, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Good work Ron DaSanties for working to establish precedent “after 200 years of our Constitution being in place” that it can, in fact, be changed. Now, step two: Do something about keeping bullets out of children and everybody else too.

  • Rob Desantos

    May 1, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    “Pro life”

  • I honestly believe that Ron DeSantis is mentally ill

    May 1, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    So since the penalty is the same, a child rapist now has the incentive to kill their victim too. Which would make sense from their point of view since a dead victim can’t talk and make accusations later on.

    Am I misunderstanding this?

    Does Ron DeSantis actually want more child murder victims in this state? Because it sure seems like it to me.

    • Rob Desantos

      May 2, 2023 at 2:19 pm

      You are absolutely right, but the Florida GOP is far too stupid to connect those dots. It’s almost certain that more abused children will be murdered because of this law (until it is overturned in court).

  • Billy the Bamboozler Abuser

    May 1, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    Next up, death penalty for drug dealers. That’s what Trump said. After that, any penalty for anything they choose!

    • Ron DeFascist

      May 1, 2023 at 3:29 pm

      Oh they’re definitely setting up the ground work for that and to lock up or execute anybody they want. DeSantis is clearly a fascist.
      Just look how they’re trying to label being exposed to LGBT and Trans ideas as “child abuse” and now this law that allows the state to take the life of more people accused of child abuse.

      It’s clear the the endgame here for DeSantis the eradication of his political rivals. Either by prison or death.

      The man is sick.

Comments are closed.


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