Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that will allow the death penalty to be imposed in cases of child rape, setting up a potential showdown with the U.S. Supreme Court. The new law, which was signed on Monday, makes Florida the first state in the nation to allow capital punishment for such crimes.
Lowering the Threshold for Capital Punishment
The new law lowers the threshold for imposing the death penalty in Florida by allowing juries to impose it even if all 12 jurors do not agree. This is a departure from previous laws which required unanimous agreement from all jurors before a death sentence could be handed down. Governor DeSantis has argued that this change is necessary in order to ensure justice in capital cases and protect children from sexual predators.
Potential Clash with Supreme Court
The new law is likely to face legal challenges as it goes against recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court which have limited states’ ability to impose capital punishment in certain circumstances. In particular, the court has ruled that juries must unanimously agree before imposing a death sentence and that states cannot execute individuals who were convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18 years old. It remains to be seen how these rulings will affect Florida’s new law and whether or not it will survive any potential legal challenges.