Florida Became the Death Penalty State in 2023

Florida Became the Death Penalty State in 2023

The year of capital punishment in Florida

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
December 27, 2023

With 2023 coming to a close, the state of Florida has gone under great changes this year, the most notable being the use of capital punishment.  Florida was one of the leading states this year in executions along with states like Texas.

The state of Florida only executed less people than Texas, with six executions ordered by the state government and eight ordered by the state of Texas.  The death warrants signed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) were given to offenders such as Darryl Bryan Barwick, who murdered a Panama City woman in 1986.

Death penalty changes in Florida are not only chalked up to being about increasing the use of the death penalty, but also changing the definition of what constitutes capital punishment.  Governor DeSantis signed a bill last summer that extended the use of capital punishment to child rapists.

During a press conference in Titusville, Florida with Attorney General Ashley Moody and local law enforcement officials, Gov. DeSantis challenged the U.S. Supreme Court ruling negating the death penalty from being used in the crime of rape, adding that the death penalty is an “appropriate punishment” for heinous crimes like rape.

DeSantis has also tore down another hallmark of the death penalty standard in the United States by throwing out the mandatory unanimous jury decision to penalize a convicted offender with capital punishment, and instead has signed legislation that only requires a supermajority of a jury to impose the death penalty.

In the wake of mass shootings, the issue became a bipartisan one as even  Senator Lauren Book (D-FL) and Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-FL) have come out in support of strengthening capital punishment.  "There is a stark difference between those who do not deserve to live, and those who deserve to die,” Sen. Pizzo said in regard to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter. “And Nikolas Cruz did not deserve to live, and he did deserve to die."

Now with 2023 near the rearview mirror, Florida has become the death penalty state.  While this may be a very "law and order" way of prosecuting crimes, many wonder how ethical these new practices are with the Supreme Court of the United States siding against many of the moves Florida has made on the practice.

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Jim McCool

Jim McCool

Jim is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied Political Science, Religion and Criminology. He has been a reporter for the Floridian since January of 2021 and will start law school in 2024.

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