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JUST IN: Republican Governor Signs Legislation Authorizing Death Penalty In Child Rape Convictions

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has signed legislation allowing the death penalty in child rape convictions.

The law, which goes into effect July 1st, could face court challenges as the “U.S. Supreme Court has banned capital punishment in such cases,” the Associated Press noted.

From the Associated Press:

The new Tennessee law, which goes into effect July 1, authorizes the state to pursue capital punishment when an adult is convicted of aggravated rape of a child. Those convicted could be sentenced to death, imprisonment for life without possibility of parole, or imprisonment for life.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted a similar bill nearly a year ago. A few months after being enacted, Florida prosecutors in Lake County announced in December that they were pursuing the death penalty for a man accused of committing sexual battery of a minor under the age of twelve. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the case is considered the first to be pursued under the new law.

Meanwhile, Idaho’s GOP-controlled House approved similar legislation earlier this year, but the proposal eventually stalled in the similarly Republican-dominated Senate.

Florida Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty In Case Involving Sexual Battery Of Child Under New Legislation

WSMV 4 reports:

SB1834/HB1663 was introduced by Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland.

“As introduced, authorizes the death penalty as a punishment for rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, or especially aggravated rape of a child,” the bill reads.

In July, Tennessee requires adults convicted of child rape to be sentenced to life in prison or death. The current law states the crime of child rape is punishable by imprisonment of no less than 15 nor more than 60 years.

Read SB1834/HB1663 HERE.

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