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Florida death penalty in child-rape cases considered

CBS News Live
CBS News Miami Live

TALLAHASSEE - A Senate committee Monday will take up a bill that seeks to allow the death penalty for people who commit sexual batteries on children under age 12. 

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee is slated to consider the proposal (SB 1342), filed by Chairman Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers. 

The bill and a similar House measure (HB 1297) emerged after Gov. Ron DeSantis in late January said the state would explore ways to have the death penalty for people who rape children. 

The bills, however, conflict with longstanding decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court that bar death sentences in such cases. 

The bills contend that a 2008 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case known as Kennedy v. Louisiana and a 1981 decision by the Florida Supreme Court in a case known as Buford v. State were wrongly decided. 

"Such crimes destroy the innocence of a young child and violate all standards of decency held by civilized society," both bills said.

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