Florida 5th Circuit Seeks Death Penalty for Child Rapist

Florida 5th Circuit Seeks Death Penalty for Child Rapist

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
December 15, 2023

Earlier this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed CS/HB 1297 into law, which made sexual assault and battery on children 12 or younger a capital offense, taking effect in October. Florida's Fifth Judicial Circuit could see the first application of the new law in a case now.

Florida's Fifth Judicial Circuit, which covers Lake, Hernando, Sumter, Citrus, and Marion Counties is seeking the death penalty for Joseph A. Giampa, who reportedly captured video of himself abusing a minor.

"In my 30 years of law enforcement, this is one of the worst cases of abuse to a child I’ve ever seen. The state attorney has my full support in seeking the death penalty for this monster," Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell told the Daily Commercial.

On X (formerly Twitter), Gov. DeSantis said the 5th Circuit had his "full support."

"Today, @flsao5 announced that they will seek the death penalty in a case of sexual battery against a child under age 12. It will be the first case to challenge SCOTUS since I signed legislation to make pedophiles eligible for the death penalty. @flsao5 has my full support," tweeted Gov. DeSantis.

During the signing ceremony in May, DeSantis said before the press "We really believe that part of a just society is to have an appropriate punishment, so if you commit a crime that is really, really heinous, you should have the ultimate punishment."

As such, the bill challenges the 2008 Supreme Court decision Kennedy v. Louisiana, which ruled the death penalty could not be issued in cases of child rape if the victim did not die, as this would violate the Eighth Amendment's provision against cruel and unusual punishment. Justice Samuel Alito led the dissension arguing the decision created a "blanket rule" that would ignore factors in cases of child rape, such as the age of the victim and the sadistic nature of the crime.

DeSantis similarly called the decision "wrong" and said, "In the worst of the worst cases, the only appropriate punishment is the ultimate punishment."

The death penalty case comes shortly after Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) spearheaded a letter to Meta for seemingly allowing the sale of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) through their platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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