Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is proposing raising the minimum penalty for particularly repugnant crimes, including child rape, as part of his greater pitch for “anti-crime” legislation, which his administration hopes to make a reality this legislative session.
DeSantis announced the proposal, which he believes will help build upon the Sunshine State’s low crime rate, on Thursday.
“Our crime rate is at a 50-year low. Overall crime [is] down nearly 10 percent year over year, murder down 14 percent, burglary down 15 percent, and robbery down 7 percent year over year,” DeSantis said during a press conference on the topic.
DeSantis noted that he was recently in Philadelphia, explaining that their murder rate is reaching “levels they haven’t seen in decades.”
“Retail theft, all kind of burglaries, all this stuff, and that’s a direct result of the policies that they have embraced to go very soft on crime and to give the criminals the upper hand,” he said, making it clear that Florida, under his leadership, will not make the same mistake.
The governor touted some of the ways the state has already targeted crime —increasing the penalties for those dealing fentanyl and taking a stand against woke prosecutors — but he emphasized that his administration wants to “keep the momentum going.”
“And so we have a legislative session coming up, and we want to make sure that we cement our reputation as being a law and order state and take actions as necessary to help further protect the people of the state of Florida,” he said, detailing some of the reforms proposed.
Some of those reforms include more severe penalties for the most repugnant crimes. Child rape, for instance, would carry a minimum sentence of life in prison with no possibility for parole. According to guidance touted by the governor, that would also advance reforms to “reinstate capital punishment for these crimes.”
DeSantis is also proposing tougher penalties for sex criminals, “expanding the list of crimes ineligible for gain time by adding all inchoate offenses (attempted crimes) of sexual misconduct, such as attempted sexual battery,” per his office.
Further, the governor seeks to reform the state’s death penalty statute, reducing the number of jurors necessary to decide on a death sentence. Currently, unanimous consent is needed. The DeSantis administration seeks to change it to a supermajority.
The proposal also includes adding penalties for drug-related crimes, including fentanyl:
In Florida, we are taking steps to preserve law & order by enhancing accountability for criminals, combatting human smuggling and protecting Floridians from fentanyl. pic.twitter.com/PynRY1dRc0
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 26, 2023
WATCH the press conference below:
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