- Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a trio of anti-crime bills on Monday, bolstering penalties for fentanyl trafficking, imposing capital punishment on criminals charged with child rape, and establishing new bond regulations.
- The Florida Supreme Court will be required to establish a uniform statewide bond schedule and prohibit individuals who have been arrested for specific crimes from being released before their first appearance in court.
- Under the bill package, those caught trafficking “rainbow fentanyl” will be made eligible for a life sentence and face a minimum 25-year sentence, as well as a $1 million fine.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a series of anti-crime bills into law on Monday including measures that impose lifelong prison sentences for criminals convicted of child rape and upgraded sentencing to sell or manufacture fentanyl byproducts disguised as candy.
The most wide-ranging of the bills, House Bill 1627, requires the state Supreme Court to develop a uniform statewide bond schedule by the beginning of next year, establishing a standard set of bail amounts for different crimes across the whole state. Moreover, the legislation prohibits the chief judge of a judicial circuit from setting a lower bail amount for a crime than what is on the statewide bond schedule without approval from the Florida Supreme Court. However, it allows them to set a higher bail amount.
The House bill also prohibits individuals who have been arrested for specific crimes from being released before their first appearance in court while also allowing courts to consider nonmonetary conditions of release in place of bail.
It also adds certain crimes like DUI manslaughter and extortion to the list of “dangerous crimes” that can lead to pretrial detention.
“For three consecutive legislative sessions we have enacted tough-on-crime policies, and this year we are continuing to implement measures to protect our communities and keep Florida safe, with a particular emphasis on keeping criminals in jail and throwing the book at pedophiles.
A second House bill, HB 1359, targets “rainbow fentanyl” and its production, trafficking, and purchase. According to the bill’s language, those caught trafficking rainbow fentanyl will be made eligible for a life sentence and face a minimum 25-year sentence, as well as a $1 million fine.
The legislation also makes it a first-degree felony to possess, sell, or manufacture fentanyl and other controlled substances that resemble candy.
“We treat criminals like criminals,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who joined DeSantis at the bill signing on Monday. “And we don’t blur the line between criminals and victims. In Florida, we’ll make sure criminals go where they belong — behind bars.”
DeSantis also signed House Bill 1297, which imposes the death penalty on criminals who commit sexual battery against children under the age of 12.
According to the Governor’s Office, DeSantis is prepared to take the measure to the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule judicial precedents which he claims have unjustly shielded child rapists from the death penalty.
Prior state and federal court rulings have established a precedence of unconstitutionality in levying the death penalty against defendants in the court of law.