On April 13, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill seeking to allow the death penalty for anyone convicted of sexual battery on a minor under the age of 12.
The measure, HB 1297, was passed by the House with a vote of 95-14, a measure sponsored by Rep. Jessica Baker, R-Jacksonville.
Baker said, “There is no earthly redemption for somebody who rapes a small child, only God can save them. And in Florida, we should be eager to arrange that meeting.”
The proposal comes following longstanding U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court rulings that found it unconstitutional to execute people convicted in rape cases.
Baker however is hopeful that the bill will make the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider the issue, especially when the victim is a child.
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“The rape of a child is a deliberate, methodical act. It doesn’t happen accidentally,” Baker said according to the Tampa Free Press while Democrat representative Mike Gottlieb, a criminal defense attorney, questioned the passing of the bill saying that it conflicts with legal precedents.
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Florida lawmakers have also approved a bill intended to end unanimous jury recommendations for death penalty cases. The Florida House gave final approval for the bill on April 14, a bill that surfaced after Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz escaped the death penalty after a jury could not come to a unanimous decision on the matter.
Cruz was sentenced to life in prison instead.
The bill however is likely to face a constitutional challenge.