Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting tough(er) on crime. His new campaign for law and order will include expanding the death penalty and sentencing guidelines for murderers and those accused of child sexual abuse. Keep reading to learn more.
Law and Order
Governor DeSantis announced his intention to improve Florida’s relatively low crime rate. The governor’s proposed legislation will address the abolishment of cash bail, increase drug crime penalties, expand sentencing for human trafficking, and strengthen punishment for child rapists. The proposal will also prevent early release for sex offenders and shorten the path to the death penalty.
The purpose of this proposal is to prove that Florida will not take crime lightly. Not only will those accused of a crime continue to pay cash bail as a deterrent for further criminal behavior. Harsher penalties for sex offenders and those who have already be sentenced to death will send a message to criminals and other states that Florida will be a state with law and order.
Referring to the motivation behind the new proposal, DeSantis states that “Other states endanger their citizens by making it easier to put criminals back on the street. Here in Florida, we will to continue to support and enact policies to protect our communities and keep Floridians safe, Florida will remain the law and order state.”
The Death Penalty
The Law and Order proposal will reform the death penalty statute to ensure that those convicted of capitol crimes and egregious felonies will be guaranteed a death sentence. This will be accomplished by reducing the number of jurors necessary to make a unanimous death penalty verdict. Additionally, the decision will no longer be unanimous – only a supermajority will be necessary to pass the sentence.
The ongoing fentanyl crisis is a key point of contention in the DeSantis legislature. To address the issue, the governor is proposing additional penalties for possession and other drug crimes. Not only will possession be a first-degree felony but trafficking substances will be met with a life sentence and $1 million penalty.
According to the new legislation bail will be restricted and the guidelines for eligibility for release especially for sex offenders. Additionally, judges will have ultimate power over who will be released or get bail. Bond schedules will also be streamlined so state courts have a cohesive set of rules to follow.
Sex criminals will be punished more harshly and the list of crimes ineligible for gain time will include sexual misconduct and battery. Essentially this means that certain sex criminals will not have the option to earn a sentence reduction. Child rapists will serve at least a life sentence and may be eligible for the death penalty.
At least $5 million will be dedicated to the continuation of a strike force dedicated to addressing felonies, human trafficking, drug charges, and other serious offenses. This will support the force as they increase the reporting of missing persons and previously mentioned parts of the proposal.
The law and order legislation is an aggressive take on crime. While it is in line with the Governor’s platform as a whole, it is important to note the long term implications for those in the criminal justice system. While many of the crimes addressed specifically are deeply harmful and have a wide-reaching impact on victims and their families, it’s important to recognize the impact on those wrongfully accused.
Those accused of a crime have rights according to the law including the right to an attorney. At Hubbs Law, P.A. we are always in your corner. If you have been accused of a crime, contact our firm immediately.