Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Florida Prosecutor Announces First Death Penalty Case Under New Child Rape Law

Florida Prosecutor Announces First Death Penalty Case Under New Child Rape Law


Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis passed a change to the Florida statutes that allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty against those accused of committing rape against a child in Florida. Under the new law, which can be found in Florida Statutes 794.011(2)(a), “a person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age commits a capital felony.”

Now, for the first time in history, a Central Florida prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against a defendant accused under the new statute. Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Gladson announced that a Lake County grand jury has indicted Joseph Andrew Giampa, 36, on charges of child sexual battery and promoting the sexual performance of a child. Gladson stated that his decision to pursue the death penalty “reflects the gravity of the charges.”

The new law is not without controversy and it is unclear if either the U.S. Supreme Court or the Florida Supreme Court will permit a death sentence for a rape case. Both courts have precedents barring the death penalty for rapists. In a statement, the Governor acknowledged the legal obstacles facing such a prosecution. The governor said on social media that it “will be the first case to challenge SCOTUS since I signed legislation to make pedophiles eligible for the death penalty.”

The last time SCOTUS heard such a case was in 2008 when Louisiana sought to impose the death penalty for the rape of a child. The U.S. Supreme Court decided the case 5-4 ruling that the state was constitutionally barred from “imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death.” At this point, all of the justices who were in the majority are no longer on the court. A new Supreme Court could decide the case differently.

How does the new measure work? 

Under the new rules, Florida trial judges have the discretion to either impose the death penalty or sentence defendants to life in prison. Juries would need to unanimously vote to convict the defendant of the crimes before the sentencing phase could begin. Then, 8 or more jurors would have to recommend a death sentence for the defendant. If fewer than 8 jurors recommend the death penalty, then the judge would be forced to sentence the defendant to life in prison.

Talk to a Tallahassee Sex Crimes Attorney Today

 Have you been charged with a sex crime in Florida? If so, you can face some of the harshest penalties in the country, including death. The Tallahassee criminal defense lawyers at Luke Newman, P.A. represent the interests of those charged with serious crimes. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2021 - 2024 Luke Newman, P.A. All rights reserved.
This law firm marketing website is managed by MileMark Media.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.