Authorities will require plaintiffs who want the death penalty in child sexual abuse cases to identify at least two significant reasons for reaching such a sentence.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that allows state authorities to impose the death penalty on those convicted of sexually assaulting children under the age of 12.
The legislation is a direct violation of a 2008 US Supreme Court decision, which found it unconstitutional for states to use the death penalty for a crime other than premeditated murder.
The decision stated at the time that “the death penalty should not be extended to cases where the victim was not killed.”
The governor’s office said DeSantis is willing to take the law to the US Supreme Court to overturn existing laws.
“In these cases, we see that maximum penalties are the solution, and therefore this bill sets a procedure to be able to challenge this crime,” DeSantis said of the decision, during a press conference.
“In Florida we stand up for children,” he added.
This isn’t the first time DeSantis has promoted the death penalty. Last month, he signed a resolution reducing the terms of the death penalty, allowing a jury to recommend the measure without a unanimous vote.
Florida has carried out the death penalty more than any other state, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC.
Authorities will require plaintiffs who want the death penalty in child sexual assault cases to specify at least two significant reasons for reaching such a sentence, including whether the defendant has a history of sexual assault or holds a position of guardian of the child.