A Florida prosecutor is using the case of a man indicted for sex crimes involving children to test a new Florida law that allows child rapists to be executed.
On Friday, State Attorney William Gladson said a grand jury had indicted Joseph Andrew Giampa on six counts of Sexual Battery Upon a Person Under Twelve Years of Age and three counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child, the office said in a statement on its website.
“Given the severity of the crime and its impact on the community, the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office has filed a notice that it intends to seek the death penalty,” the office said.
The office explained the decision by saying, “The decision to pursue the highest penalty reflects the gravity of the charges and the State Attorney’s Office’s dedication to holding criminals accountable for their actions.”
Florida Child Rapist Could Be First in State to Be Put to Death – https://t.co/IF6gRLIRo9
— Laurel700 (@Laurel700) December 17, 2023
The case is the first to be prosecuted under a law that allows the death penalty for child rapists.
Gladson’s office told WKMG-TV there were aggravating factors in Giampa’s case.
Giampa has a record that includes a conviction for the use or threat of violence against someone, the victim in this latest case was particularly vulnerable due to the child’s age, the case was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, and monetary gain was a factor in the alleged crime, the office said.
A Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit said video showed a child forced to perform a sex act and being forced to have sex.
— Virginians 4 Safe Communities (@VA4SafeComm) December 14, 2023
According to the New York Post, a video found at the time of the arrest quoted the child’s alleged abuser saying he “likes it more when [the victim] does not like it.”
There are several barriers between Giampa and execution.
For one, he needs to be convicted. A death penalty recommendation would require at least eight members of a jury to support it.
If death is decreed, appeals to the Supreme Court would bring the Florida law up against U.S. Supreme Court precedent that limited the death penalty to crimes when a victim was killed.
“My view is, you have some of these people that will be serial rapists of six, seven-year-old kids. I think the death penalty is the only appropriate punishment when you have situations like that,” he said last month.
“In Florida, we stand for the protection of children,” DeSantis said after signing the bill, according to CNN. “Unfortunately, in our society, you have very heinous sex crimes that are committed against children under the age of 12 years old.”
DeSantis said when he signed the bill he expected a challenge, according to the Tampa Free Press.
“And so this bill sets up a procedure to be able to challenge that precedent to be able to say that in Florida, we think that the worst of the worst crimes deserve the worst of the worst punishment and I think that that’s the only thing that’s appropriate.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.