Bipartisan Pro-Death Penalty Push in Florida

Bipartisan Pro-Death Penalty Push in Florida

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
March 31, 2023

Following the tragic trend of mass shootings in schools across the country, the state of Florida has moved to lower the death penalty standards via SB 450.

The bill would change the law to require only 8 jurors to vote in favor of the death penalty, rather than a unanimous decision for a death penalty sentence.

Republicans have pushed this bill after the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida saw the death of 17 children.  The perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, evaded the death penalty because of a 9 to 3 decision to give Cruz the death penalty.  If SB 450 were to have been signed into law at the time, Cruz would have been given the death penalty.

“Nikolas Cruz acted as judge, jury, and executioner,” Sen. Ingoglia continued, “If a monster like that does not get the death penalty, then what do we have the death penalty for?”

Democrats have joined their Republican colleagues, such as progressive Senator Lauren Book (D-FL) and Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-FL) .

“There is a stark difference between those who do not deserve to live, and those who deserve to die,” Sen. Pizzo said. “And Nikolas Cruz did not deserve to live, and he did deserve to die.”

In another piece of legislation, Florida would make history by extending the death penalty to child rapists.  SB 1342, proposed by Sen. Book and Sen. Jonathon Martin (R-FL), has been praised from both sides of the aisle but contradicts SCOTUS precedent that ruled that the death penalty is not an appropriate punishment for the crime.

Due to the recent bills being proposed, one must consider if Florida will be the most zealous advocate of the death penalty in the Union.  Just this month, Governor DeSantis (R-FL) officially approved the execution of a death row inmate who has awaited his date since 1989.


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Jim McCool

Jim McCool

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