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A law and order state’: DeSantis details push for tough-on-crime laws in Florida

  • 28 Jan 2023 8:11 AM
    Message # 13076126
    John (Administrator)


    Florida should get even tougher on crime — from reforming the state’s death penalty laws, to introducing heavier penalties for child sex offenders, to cracking down on the sale of fentanyl made to look like candy, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

    “Don’t take safe communities for granted,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Miami at the Miami Police Benevolent Association. A “Law & Order” sign was affixed to the lectern from which he spoke. “We are a law and order state.”

    Among his plans he said that will be presented to the state Legislature:

    • Citing the outcome of Parkland’s high school shooter’s case, the state will consider requiring a supermajority vote of a jury for a criminal to get the death penalty. Under current law, a jury has to be unanimous in recommending a death sentence. A single juror is all it takes to keep an inmate off death row and send him to prison for life. In the Parkland case, jurors said they were split 9-3 in favor of death. Confessed killer Nikolas Cruz was sentenced to life in prison in early November for murdering 17 people, and wounding another 17. “I don’t think justice was served in that case,” DeSantis said Thursday. “If you’re going to have capital [punishment], you have to administer it to the worst of the worst crimes.”

    • The state will consider making it a first-degree felony to possess, sell or manufacture fentanyl to look like candy. The governor said he is proposing a mandatory life sentence and $1 million penalty for those targeting children. The problem doesn’t just impact families, but the most unlikely of police, too. Two drug-sniffing K-9 dogs with the Wilton Manors Police Department nearly died in 2016 from an overdose while conducting a search warrant. Both received emergency Narcan treatments, a department member said Thursday. His office is also allocating $20 million for law enforcement agencies to increase efforts to stop the illicit sale and trafficking of fentanyl.

    • DeSantis said the state currently “doesn’t allow capital punishment for anything short of a homicide.” But sex predators “are ruining these kids’ lives” and are “unrepentant.” He said the state is “exploring ways” to “facilitate some capital trials if you have the worst of the worst.”

    “I believe the only appropriate punishment that would be commensurate to that would be capital,” he said of sex predators. “Everyone feels that way when you see this,” he said. At the least, he said he wants to see predators get life in prison, because “they will reoffend if you put them back on the street,” he said.

    When asked at the news conference if he was satisfied there was enough done at the state level to prevent another school massacre, DeSantis referenced how he had removed Broward’s sheriff once he was sworn into office in 2019, there was money spent on school security, there has since been a statewide grand jury and there have been ”changes” at the School Board, a reference to the suspension of four members.

    “Before I became governor, nobody had been held accountable for any failings. Now people have been held accountable,” he said.

    “I think just having accountability is going to make it less likely that somebody like this guy [Cruz] gets passed around the system and everybody turns a blind eye knowing that this guy was a problem,” he said.

    “It’s just wrong,” he repeated of Cruz’s life sentence.

    As DeSantis focused on the tough-on-crime laws, some people drew attention to the governor’s support for permitless carry gun legislation, which would allow people to carry handguns without training or a permit. Opponents of the measure say that would lead to more gun violence.

    “If you intend to be tough on crime & safety, stop pushing the notion of permitless carry which will guarantee more gun violence in Fl,” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland school shooting.

    The measure’s supporters, who call it “constitutionalcarry,” say state requirements make it harder for people to protect themselves.

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