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DeSantis signs death penalty law for child rapists in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald/TNS)
May 11, 2023

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that expands the death penalty for individuals convicted of raping children under 12 years old. Facing opposition, DeSantis emphasized the importance of protecting children, stating that “in the worst of the worst cases, the only appropriate punishment is the ultimate punishment.”

The law will apply only to new cases and will not be retroactive. Only individuals convicted of raping children under the age of 12 will be eligible for the death penalty, and only if the crime is committed after the law’s effective date of October 1.

“Florida is a law-and-order state with a 50-year record low crime rate and double-digit year-over-year decreases in murder, burglary, and overall crime,” DeSantis said in a statement. “For three consecutive legislative sessions we have enacted tough-on-crime policies, and this year we are continuing to implement measures to protect our communities and keep Florida safe, with a particular emphasis on keeping criminals in jail and throwing the book at pedophiles.”

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DeSantis previously told “Good Morning Orlando” that he was concerned about “serial rapists of six, seven-year-old kids.”

“I think the death penalty is the only appropriate punishment when you have situations like that,” DeSantis added. 

DeSantis also recently signed three bills cracking down on Chinese influence in Florida.

“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I’m proud to sign this legislation to stop the purchase of our farmland and land near our military bases and critical infrastructure by Chinese agents, to stop sensitive digital data from being stored in China, and to stop CCP influence in our education system from grade school to grad school. We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”