OAN’s Abril Elfi
1:58 PM – Sunday, December 17, 2023
A man who was indicted on charges of sexually abusing children is facing what could be Florida’s first death penalty case under its new law.
Joseph Andrew Giampa was charged on Thursday by the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office with six counts of sexual battery against a child under the age of 12 and three counts of encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity.
According to a news release, State Attorney William Gladson stated that due to the “severity of the crime and its impact on the community,” his office will pursue the death penalty for the alleged crimes.
In 1977, the United States Supreme Court decided that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment prohibited the application of the death penalty in rape cases. In the 2008 Kennedy v. Louisiana case, the Supreme Court decided that capital punishment was not appropriate when the victim was not killed in the crime.
However, Florida lawmakers passed a bill this past spring that would make crimes involving the sexual battery of minors punishable by death.
“Wrongfully decided and an egregious infringement of the states’ power to punish the most heinous of crimes,” the bill claims of the Kennedy v. Louisiana ruling.
Giampa, 36, was taken into custody in November in Leesburg.
According to an arrest affidavit, a police officer claimed to have seen a video of a man known as Giampa sexually abusing a small child.
Gladson said his decision to pursue the death penalty reflected “the gravity of the charges and the State Attorney’s Office’s dedication to holding criminals accountable for their actions.”
“The State Attorney’s Office acknowledges the sensitivity of this matter and the impact it has on the community. Our commitment to ensuring justice and protecting the vulnerable remains unwavering,” he said in a news release.
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) also released a statement backing the decision to pursue the death penalty.
“It will be the first case to challenge SCOTUS since I signed legislation to make pedophiles eligible for the death penalty,” he said. “The State’s Attorney has my full support.”
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