DeSantis signs bill allowing prosecutors to seek death penalty for convicted pedophiles

At least one of the laws is likely to be challenged on its constitutionality.
Ron DeSantis, August 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is advancing his tough-on-crime message by signing a new package of crime bills, including one that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for some found guilty of pedophile-related crimes.

DeSantis, a Republican, signed the bills into law Monday, including one, which allows for the death penalty for those found guilty of "sexual battery against children under the age of 12," the governor’s office said.

The law is likely to set up a legal battle because the  Supreme Court ruled in 2008 the death penalty in child rape cases violates the Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. 

The package also include the "Offenses Involving Fentanyl or Fentanyl Analogs" legislation, which targets so-called "rainbow fentanyl" by instituting mandatory minimum prison sentences and other additional penalties if a drug looks like a piece of candy to target children.

The third law, titled "Pretrial Release and Detention," targets liberal bail reform by instructing the state Supreme Court to develop a uniform statewide bond schedule by the end of 2023 and authorizing a court to revoke pretrial release, among other things.

"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 when he announced the laws. "[T]his 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."

The laws come less than two weeks after DeSantis signed a law that ended the requirement for a jury to unanimously recommend capital punishment.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.