Florida: Death Penalty Approved for Child Molesters

Florida State Senate

The Florida State Senate approved the bill that provides for the death penalty for those who sexually abuse children under 12 years of age. 

The initiative was approved by the Florida Senate with 34 votes in favor and 5 against. Child molesters can be sentenced to death when eight jurors vote in favor. 

In addition to this, the governor of Florida, Ron Desantis, signed a law this Thursday that eliminates the requirement of a unanimous verdict of the jury to sentence a person to death and was promoted as a result of the author of the Parkland massacre, Nikolas Cruz, will be saved from capital punishment for that reason.

Once this law goes into effect, a Florida judge will be able to impose the death penalty on a convicted person if 8 of the 12 jurors so recommend it, which means going back to the situation prior to 2017, when unanimity began to be required. at the request of the US Supreme Court. 

It has not been specified when the law will enter into force and whether or not it will apply retroactively.

Republican DeSantis had announced in 2022 that he wanted to return to the death sentence by the simple majority because he was unhappy that the confessed perpetrator of the shooting in which 17 people died in a Parkland (Florida) high school in 2018, Nikolas Cruz, he would have escaped capital punishment because the jury vote was not unanimous.

Relatives of some of Cruz’s victims expressed their satisfaction with the legal change that has now been finalized with the governor’s signature.

According to data from the Florida Department of Corrections (Prisons), there are currently almost 300 prisoners on “death row,” as the place where those to be executed are known.

The law signed today is one of many passed by the Republican-majority Florida Congress in its current session at the behest of DeSantis, who seeks to implement his ultra-conservative agenda in Florida, before competing for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

The governor has yet to officially announce his intentions, but there are many signs that he is already on the campaign trail, starting with attacks on him by his former political godfather, former President Donald Trump, who is aspiring to be the Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election.