On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested revisions to the state’s criminal justice legislation, including the possibility of the death penalty for child rapists and a reduction in the number of jurors needed to impose the death penalty.
DeSantis stated that only the overwhelming majority or a supermajority of a jury should be necessary to impose a death sentence, citing the case of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz, who was spared execution last year because the jury was unable to agree on the use of the death penalty.
At the Miami Police Benevolent Association, DeSantis said, “One juror shouldn’t be able to overrule that.” “In my opinion, justice wasn’t done in that situation. If you’re going to use capital [punishment], you must use it on those who have committed the worst crimes possible.”
Several of the 17 Parkland shooting victims’ families spoke out against the jury’s verdict. Cruz killed his daughter, age 14, and Dr. Ilan Alhadeff stated he was “disgusted with those jurors” and “disgusted with this system.”
“What is the purpose of the death penalty? What does it accomplish?” After Cruz was sentenced to life in prison, Alhadeff stated.
DeSantis also stated that he wants to make those who commit child rape eligible for the death penalty and mandate that they serve at least a life sentence in prison.
According to the state’s Department of Corrections, Florida currently has 301 people on death row and has executed 99 prisoners since 1976.
DeSantis also suggested strengthening bail laws by limiting who is eligible for release before their first appearance, tougher penalties for fentanyl trafficking when the drug resembles a piece of candy, and legislation requiring police to notify the National Missing and Unidentified Person’s System about all missing people.