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Florida Passes Bill Allowing Death Penalty for Child Sexual Abuse

Late on Tuesday, April 18, the Florida Senate made history by passing a bill that allows for the death penalty for those convicted of sexually abusing children.

This bill, HB 1297, which passed by a vote of 34-5, will allow defendants to receive death sentences based on the recommendations/votes of at least eight of 12 jurors. Judges would have the discretion to impose the death penalty or sentence defendants to life in prison. If less than eight jurors recommend the death penalty, defendants would receive life sentences.

DeSantis is expected to now sign this bill, and we hear his thoughts on it from what he told “Good Morning Orlando”: “My view is, you have some of these people that will be serial rapists of six, seven-year-old kids. I think the death penalty is the only appropriate punishment when you have situations like that.”

HB 1297 — which passed the Florida House of Representatives 95-14 — would apply to those convicted of abusing a child under the age of 12.

“There is no earthly redemption for somebody who rapes a small child, only God can save them. And in Florida, we should be eager to arrange that meeting.” said bill sponsor Rep. Jessica Baker

A Davie Democrat who was sexually abused as a child, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, also speaks on the subject and pleaded with senators Tuesday evening to vote for the bill. She said people who sexually abuse children are “called predators for a reason because they stalk and hunt down their prey.

Book expressed “There is no statute of limitations on this crime. There is no end. It’s always with you.”

Senate bill sponsor Jonathan Martin, also a former prosecutor, told senators “We have a completely different Florida Supreme Court makeup than when Kennedy v. Louisiana was issued. I know everybody in this room hopes that nobody is put to death for this crime. Because if someone is put to death for this crime, it means that a poor innocent child was raped.”

Sen. Rosalind Osgood, however, who is responsible for one of the dissenting votes on Tuesday, says the bill is a “quandary” for her, due to her belief and faith in God.


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