A new Florida law has put a target on child rapists. The law, HB 1297 was signed in May and went into effect on Sunday, October 1, last year. The Bill was passed with a 34-5 margin in the State Senate, and 95-14 at the State House.
The bill was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who said: “Unfortunately, our society has very heinous sex crime that is committed against children younger than 12 years of age. These are really the worst of the worst. The perpetrators of these crimes are often serial offenders.”
DeSantis said that he believes the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that ruled it unconstitutional for child sexual abuse cases to use the death penalty was wrong, and that it should be reconsidered.
He added, “This bill establishes a procedure that will allow us to challenge this precedent and say that in Florida we believe that the worst crimes should receive the most severe punishment.”
DeSantis posted on Tuesday that Florida’s death penalty law for child rapists was now in force. The minimum punishment is life without parole. Anyone who harms children so horribly in Florida will never be free.
HB 1297 says that “A person who, in the attempt to commit a sexual assault on a child under 12 years old or commits sexual battery against a child less than 12 is putting vulnerable citizens of this state at risk of death.”
The bill states that “such crimes destroy innocence in a child and violate standards of decency of civilized society.”
The statute states that Florida’s Legislature found that Buford v. State of Florida, and Kennedy v. Louisiana cases, in which both the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, held that the death sentence for child rape is cruel and unusual were “wrongly determined and an egregious violation of the state’s power to punish even the most heinous of offenses.”
DeSantis signed in April a bill that would end the requirement for a unanimous verdict in death penalty sentences. This allows capital punishment if a majority of jurors vote in favor. The judges would be able to decide whether to sentence defendants to death or life in prison. If less than eight jurors recommended death, the judges must impose life sentences.
Maria DeLiberato said in an interview with WJXT that although the death penalty law was passed, it wouldn’t affect anyone immediately.
She said: “The legislature did a great job in acknowledging that they knew it wasn’t law when they passed the right thing. They just hoped the law would be changed.” You’re dealing with a victim who is still alive and who will have to participate in the inevitable, decades-long process of the death penalty. Death penalty cases are not fast. “It lingers for years and years.”
DeLiberato explained that statistics showed child sexual abuse is usually committed by abusers the child knows, and they can even be family members. This complicates a case for the death penalty.
She said: “Now, you have this whole dynamic in which a child will bear the weight of a possible death sentence for a neighbor or uncle, a grandfather, someone they know not everyone is going to feel exactly the same way about.”
We know that many pedophiles are repeat offenders and that the justice system is not trustworthy to put them in prison. There may only be one way to stop the pedophiles’ horrific crimes.