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Ron DeSantis signs bill authorizing death penalty for child rapists


Daily Caller News Foundation

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed new legislation Monday to allow the execution of child rapists in his state, setting up a potential U.S. Supreme Court battle.

The new law permits capital punishment for those who commit sexual battery against children under 12 years old, intentionally challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 Kennedy v. Louisiana decision in 2008 that prohibited the death penalty in such cases when the victim survived. DeSantis argued Monday that the court’s ruling was wrong.

“We think that in the worst of the worst cases, the only appropriate punishment is the ultimate punishment,” DeSantis said. Experts who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation had expressed skepticism that the Supreme Court’s current roster of justices would agree to hear a new death penalty case in light of the Florida legislation, though Manhattan Institute Constitutional Studies Director Ilya Shapiro called DeSantis’ support for it “a smart political move.”

DeSantis enacted a new law on April 20 allowing juries to levy a death sentence with a two-thirds majority vote in his state, which has historically required a unanimous decision for capital punishment.

He also signed bills Monday that will make those who sell fentanyl resembling candy to children eligible for life in prison, and ban suspects arrested for dangerous crimes from being granted pretrial release without monetary bail at their first court hearings.

“If you’re messing with children, you’re going to have the book thrown at you 100%,” the governor said. “We’re excited to be able to deliver these victories. We’re gonna have a lot more that we’re gonna be announcing over the next few weeks.”

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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