On Tuesday, the Florida State Legislature passed a bill that would enact the death penalty for those who are convicted of sexually abusing children.
As the New York Post reports, the bipartisan bill passed in the Florida State Senate by a margin of 34 to 5 on Tuesday night, after previously passing in the Florida House of Representatives by a 95 to 14 margin last week. The bill would apply to anyone who is convicted of abusing a child below the age of 12, and would also allow the death penalty to be handed down by a jury vote of at least 8 to 4, rather than a unanimous jury vote as previously required.
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is expected to sign the bill into law.
“My view is, you have some of these people that will be serial rapists of six, seven-year-old kids,” said DeSantis in an interview on “Good Morning Orlando” on Monday. “I think the death penalty is the only appropriate punishment when you have situations like that.”
The bill was sponsored by State Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D-Fla.) and State Senator Jonathan Martin (R-Fla.), with Book saying that “Once a predator has a child ensnared, they will harm that child over and over and over again, and then move on to another innocent child.”
But if the bill is signed, then the new law would come into conflict with Supreme Court precedent. In the 2008 case Kennedy v. Louisiana, the Court ruled by a 5 to 4 margin that it was unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on any criminal whose victim did not die as a result of the crime.
DeSantis, however, believes that the current Supreme Court, with its 6 to 3 conservative majority, could vote in favor of overturning that precedent and uphold the new law.