Florida passes bill to give convicted child sex offenders the death penalty
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Lawmakers in Florida have passed a bill that will see people convicted of pedophilia and child sex offences given the death penalty.
The bill was given the green light after Florida Senator Ron DeSantis backed the proposed legislation in order to clamp down on sex crimes against children under the age of 12.
The bipartisan proposal was passed forward to be enshrined in law with a vote of 34-5 late Tuesday.
State Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book and Republican State Senator Jonathan Martin co-sponsored the bipartisan bill, arguing that those who sexually violate children are likely to repeat their crime and therefore deserve to pay the ultimate price.
"Once a predator has a child ensnared, they will harm that child over and over and over again," Book said, as per The New York Post.
"And then move on to another innocent child."
She added: "Pedophile behavior has been deemed highly repetitive to the point of compulsion."
DeSantis threw his support behind the bill in a radio interview with WFLA on Monday (April 17).
"We are authorizing the death penalty for child rapists," he said.
"My view is you have some of these people that will be serial rapists of six, seven-year-old kids.
"I think the death penalty is the only appropriate punishment when you have situations like that."
The bill will also hand juries the power to hand down death sentences with a vote of at least 8-4 in favor of the ultimate penalty.
Previously, the death sentence required an unanimous vote to see pedophiles put to death as penance for their crimes.
The 15-year-old precedent stems from the ruling of Kennedy v. Louisiana, in which Supreme Court justices ruled that the death penalty could not be administered against child rapists or anyone else who had committed a crime in which the victim did not die.
DeSantis suggested earlier in the week that the current Supreme Court bench, made up of six Republican and three Democrat justices, may be open to overturning the decision.
The Florida Governor told WFLA that the time to do away with such a ruling is now, especially considering most of the justices that made the ruling are no longer on the bench.
"I think we're right at the law and I think that its current court would consider a challenge to that," DeSantis said.