On day of Daniel Penny indictment, Gov. DeSantis signs bill making strangulation a felony

New choking ban could give guilty parties 5 years in state prison even if the victim does not die.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation (HB 1375) that would classify strangulation as assault that merits felony charges.

Rep. Jessica Baker’s legislation makes the penalty for the act a third-degree felony, which could lead to five years in state prison for those convicted, as long as the act is adjudged to have caused “great bodily harm.”

The Governor signed the bill on the same day that former Marine Daniel Penny, whom the Governor has described as a “good Samaritan,” was indicted for manslaughter by a grand jury for choking a homeless man to death on a subway.

Penny’s attorneys say he was responding to an imminent threat and his actions were “fully justified,” but that didn’t stop the grand jury from greenlighting the criminal case.

The Florida law makes even nonfatal strangulation a felony. This extends from laws already on the books, which stipulate a third-degree felony when the victim and the strangler share a “domestic or dating relationship.” The bill would make strangulation of any victim regardless of the relationship a third-degree felony.

“Without a showing of great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement, Florida law does not currently make it a felony to commit battery by strangulation in scenarios where the offender and victim do not share a domestic or dating relationship,” reads the bill analysis.

The statutory prohibition “does not apply to any act of medical diagnosis, treatment, or prescription which is authorized under the laws of this state.”

Though DeSantis argues that Penny should not have been prosecuted, expectations are this law will lead to more prosecutions and inmates.

The bill analysis posits the “bill may have a positive indeterminate impact on jail and prison beds by creating a new felony offense for battery by strangulation, which may result in more jail and prison admissions.”

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


  • Ron Forrest Ron

    June 15, 2023 at 9:04 am

    I am so confused about Rhonda’s position on stranglers.

    Rhonda, is the subway strangler a hero or a not?

    You say one thing but then pass a law saying the exact opposite.

    Like with how migrants were just made felons by Florida state law, but then Florida’s GOP says “No, we love y’all! Don’t leeeeeeaaavvve! Who will pick the oranges? Poor whites? They won’t work! Vamos al casa en Florida!”

  • Cosplayer Casey

    June 15, 2023 at 9:10 am

    Ron’s confusion over whether or not he like stranglers must have something to with Cosplayer Casey. I bet she dresses up like a frog and says “Rain on me, Rhonda! Rain all over me!”

  • Hominy Migrants

    June 15, 2023 at 9:19 am

    How many migrants did Ron DeSantis traffic from Texas to California or Martha’s Vineyard the day they signed the migrant transportation felony law?

  • Cmv

    June 15, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Confused. Would not strangulation fall under attempted, murder or murder. You’re just getting your kicks signing bills

Comments are closed.


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