2023 Florida Legislative Session: Proposed Death Penalty for Child Sexual Battery


In recent years, there has been growing concern throughout the nation about the sexual abuse of children. In response to this concern, lawmakers in Florida have proposed bills for the 2023 Florida legislative session seeking the death penalty for adults who sexually batter children younger than 12. While these bills are still in the proposal stage, they have generated much controversy and debate.

SB 1342 and HB1297

The proposed bills for Capital Sexual Battery (SB 1342 and HB1297) would amend Florida law to allow the death penalty for individuals who commit sexual battery against a child under 12. In another bill, lawmakers have proposed changing how the death penalty operates. If this law is passed, a jury would not have to be unanimous to recommend death. In addition, it would allow a judge to override a jury’s recommendation for a life sentence and order capital punishment instead. 

The bill for Capital Sexual Battery has received support from some lawmakers, who argue that sexual abuse of children is a heinous crime that deserves the harshest possible punishment. They believe the death penalty will deter would-be perpetrators and clearly show that such crimes will not be tolerated.

Opponents of Capital Sexual Battery

The proposed bills face criticism from many quarters. Some legal experts argue that the death penalty is inappropriate for any crime, including sexual battery. They point out that the death penalty is inherently flawed and is applied disproportionately to people of color and those with lower incomes.

Others argue that the bill may do more harm than good. They believe the death penalty may deter victims from reporting sexual abuse out of fear that the perpetrator will be executed. They also argue that the death penalty may make it more difficult to prosecute perpetrators, as they may be more likely to plead not guilty and go to trial rather than accept a plea bargain.

Another concern is that the law may not reduce the incidence of sexual abuse. Many believe that harsher punishments do not necessarily deter crimes and that addressing the root causes of sexual abuse, such as poverty, inequality, and inadequate sex education, is a more effective approach.

Is the Proposed Legislation Unconstitutional?

Some opponents assert that a death sentence for sexual battery may be unconstitutional. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments.” They contend that the death penalty for sexual battery may fall under this category. They point out that the Supreme Court has previously ruled that the death penalty is only appropriate for crimes that result in the death of the victim and that it is not appropriate for non-lethal crimes.

When the Stakes are High, Call The AP Law Group

It remains to be seen whether the proposed bills will become law in Florida. While there is undoubtedly a great deal of concern about the sexual battery of children, there is also widespread disagreement about the best way to address the problem. 

Now more than ever, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical to protect your rights if you are investigated or charged with any form of child sexual abuse. It is imperative to have aggressive, dedicated legal help that can build a strong case. The legal team at The AP Law Group has successfully defended countless Florida residents facing prosecution for various sex-related crimes. Working closely with forensic investigators and expert witnesses, we can develop a unique defense strategy tailored to the facts of your case.

Do Not Take Chances with Your Defense 

At The AP Law Group, we are trial attorneys with proven results. In your defense, we will fiercely challenge the other side. We can help you find solutions to even the most challenging situations. Our criminal defense attorneys represent individuals with all types of Florida state and federal misdemeanor and felony charges. Contact The AP Law Group at (352) 732-9191. Our office locations are Ocala and Gainesville, Florida. We represent clients throughout Alachua, Marion, and the surrounding counties in Florida.