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February 4, 2024

First capital child rape charge under new Florida law results in LWOP plea and sentence

Nearly a year ago, Florida enacted a new law making certain child rapes a capital offense, and I asked in this post: "With new Florida law authorizing death penalty for child rape, how might SCOTUS get to reconsider Kennedy?".  Two months ago, as detailed in this  post, Florida prosecutors filed court documents stating its intent to seek the death penalty against Joseph Andrew Giampa after he was indicted on multiple counts of sexual battery on a child under age 12. 

I reacted to this potentially historic capital case by speculating about the possibility of a plea deal to take the death penalty off the table, wondering in particular if prosecutors would agree to such a deal.  This local article reports that such a plea deal was made, and an LWOP sentence was entered last week:

A Leesburg man has been sentenced to life in prison for forcing a young girl to engage in sexual acts.

Joseph Andrew Giampa, 36, through his defense attorney, conveyed an offer to serve the rest of his natural life in prison.  At the request of the victim’s family and with the interests of the child victim in mind, the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office agreed to this resolution.  Under this agreement, Giampa will spend the remainder of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Resolution in less than 100 days is proof that Florida’s capital punishment statute for sexual battery of children is effective,” commented Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Gladson.  “By passing this law, the Florida legislature and the governor have sent a message that Florida has zero tolerance for those who prey upon our most vulnerable and that the punishment will be certain, swift and severe.”

Last year, investigators found a video on Giampa’s laptop of a female juvenile victim being recorded by an adult man, later identified as Giampa, holding the camera and talking to her.... 

Giampa was indicted by a grand jury in December 2023 for six counts of sexual battery upon a person under 12 years of age and three counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child.  Shortly after Giampa was indicted, Gladson filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case pursuant to Florida Statutes 794.011(2)(a) and 921.1425, both of which pertain to the death penalty regarding sexual battery as a capital felony.

I am not too surprised that this case was resolved through an LWOP plea deal, which is not uncommon in capital cases when there is no dispute over guilt.  I am also not surprised that the victim’s family here was eager to have this case resolved through a plea deal rather than risk having the young rape victim grow up with her rape and rapist the center of legal appeals and debates for years.  So now we are back to waiting and wondering when and how Florida will secure a child rape death sentence that could provide an opportunity for SCOTUS to reconsider its Kennedy ruling that such a sentence violates the Eighth Amendment.

Prior related post:

February 4, 2024 at 11:50 AM | Permalink


One big benefit to the victim and her family was getting past this so (relatively) quickly, made possible in part by the fact that the rapist had more of an incentive to make a deal thanks to the Florida DP statute.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 4, 2024 2:30:53 PM

It seems this should be open to collateral attack on the basis that the threat of an unconstitutional sentence was used to extract the guilty plea deal here?

Posted by: Jason | Feb 4, 2024 3:46:03 PM

First of all, making child rape without homicide could further endanger the victim if the rapist feels that he or she has nothing to lose by killing his or her child victim and the parents of that child to keep them from testifying for the prosecution. So much for victims' rights!

Secondly, is Florida's law gender neutral with respect to defining both the rapist and the child victim? A female can commit rape by forcibly inserting objects up the victim's private parts without the help of a biological male sex organ. Besides, little boys and well as little girls can be raped and the boys suffer no less than the girls do at the hands of their rapist. So, I hope that Florida's law does not have the strictly the heterosexual male-on-female outdated definition of rape.

Posted by: william delzell | Feb 4, 2024 5:06:46 PM

william delzell --

"First of all, making child rape without homicide could further endanger the victim if the rapist feels that he or she has nothing to lose by killing his or her child victim and the parents of that child..."

Nothing to lose but whatever is left of his soul. Does that count?

And isn't the truth of the matter that you oppose the DP here because you oppose it everywhere, not because of its possible impact on the "thinking" of the rapist?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 4, 2024 5:23:48 PM

Jason --

That's a good point. That's why I would have written the plea deal to include the following waiver: "Defendant understands that under current US Supreme Court precedent, the DP cannot be imposed for this offense. Fully aware of this, the defendant accepts this agreement and waives his right to appeal the sentence or to pursue a colatteral attack on that basis, in either state or federal court."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 4, 2024 5:28:36 PM

william delzell --

Richard Posner made much the same point in his 1983 book _The Economics of Justice_, engaging in a lengthy critique of "a simple vengeance approach to punishment", among other crude approaches favored by conservatives. I seem to remember him stating flatly something like, "There are limits to the severity of punishment."

I read the book not long after the 9/11 attacks, around the time of the TV series _24_ and Dick Cheney's Sunday morning talk show salivations over "working on the dark side" to protect America through extreme measures exacted upon people suspected of terrorism-adjacent activity under the flimsiest of pretexts (such as an Afghan farmer's neighbor looking to undertake a little "adverse possession" of the poor bastard's land), and thinking, "not nearly as many limits as you think, Mr. Posner". And indeed, the incidence of erectile dysfunction among conservatives dropped sharply for a few years, especially once the Abu Grahib photos leaked.

It may surprise us all to learn that to today's right wing, Richard Posner is a Trotskyist.

Posted by: Pabst Blue Ribbon | Feb 4, 2024 6:41:52 PM

I oppose the death penalty and support its abolition. I wonder if Florida passed this statute in hopes of serial child molesters opting to plea out to an LWOP sentence to clean up the backlog and appease conservatives? It's sick, but not beneath right wingers to do this.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 4, 2024 8:57:33 PM

Pabst --

"It may surprise us all to learn that to today's right wing, Richard Posner is a Trotskyist."

Yes, it would indeed surprise conservatives to learn that, since I'm not aware of a single conservative writer who has called Posner a Trotskyite. Can you name even one and provide the citation?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 4, 2024 10:58:53 PM

Bill, Posner turned into a bit of a d-bag. One of his affirmative action opinions is a joke--basically, discriminate against white prison guards to promote black prison guards so the black prisoners will get the benefit of seeing blacks in charge. Of course, that is a flat violation of Palmore v. Sidoti.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 5, 2024 12:30:46 PM

federalist --

As many people do, see, e.g., Joe Biden, Posner started to lose it as he got older (and he had a lot more to lose than Joe). Some of his stuff was appalling, and (so I hear) he started to get in fights with court staff. Very unfortunate. He resigned abruptly.

But a Trotskyite??? Ha! That's just another one of Pabst's loose (and increasingly frequent) smear jobs.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 5, 2024 2:42:06 PM

Another asinine comment from Bill Otis. This man has no concept of ethical inquiry. We are close to the only Western country that even has the death penalty for murder and Bill expresses satisfaction that an unconstitutional extension of a moronic punishment helps obtain a life sentence. It is hard to believe that Bill is a Stanford Law graduate. He has spent his entire life siding with the racists, morons, rubes, no-nothings, and scumbags of society. It would not surprise me if he is a Trump supporter. Bill you are a particular disgrace because you should know better but pander to the dregs of society. Either get some morals and ethics or just shut up. You have got to be the world’s least thoughtful and introspective supposedly smart person.

Posted by: Mark | Feb 6, 2024 11:01:36 PM


An interesting take. You imply that Bill is a racist, yet count only “Western” countries when outlining those with the death penalty. I guess all of those dark skinned people don’t count, eh?

I’d call that a dog whistle but it’s more like a train whistle.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Feb 6, 2024 11:46:24 PM

Mark --

Hey buddy, I love you too.

"It is hard to believe that Bill is a Stanford Law graduate."

Well then go look it up!

"He has spent his entire life siding with the racists, morons, rubes, no-nothings, and scumbags of society."

I like your nuance! But just so you'll know, I was a career AUSA under administrations of both parties.

"It would not surprise me if he is a Trump supporter."

Go read my blog, "Ringside at the Reckoning." Here's today's entry: https://ringsideatthereckoning.substack.com/p/trump-loses-the-argument-that-he

"Bill you are a particular disgrace because you should know better but pander to the dregs of society."

I'm sorry, but I've never been a defense lawyer.

"Either get some morals and ethics or just shut up."

The Left's support for free speech shows itself in full bloom.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 7, 2024 3:22:49 AM

Bill, looks like you struck a nerve!!

Mark, take a look at yourself. I get why people don't support the death penalty--generally, I think that the reasons stem from squeamishness rather than moral conviction. What I don't get, looking at the issue rationally, is the vehemence. Support for the death penalty for those who rape young children is not a rational basis to conclude that the person's support is worthy of extreme moral condemnation. One of the big reasons I support capital punishment is that it shows moral courage. And it's a way for the democracy to stand up to the bureaucrats/judiciary/bien pensants who hate it.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 7, 2024 10:23:44 AM

federalist --

Just so. Accusing people who support the DP of being racist, moronic, scumbags, etc., shows, to start with, almost no awareness of the actual landscape. I agree with you that the DP is a needed and fully justified expression of moral confidence. I would also note that you and I are in agreement with, not merely a majority of the American people (a majority that's lasted 50 years), but with every President until the current incumbent, and the huge majority of Supreme Court justices (including, from all that's known, all the current nine).

In addition, the DP easily predominates worldwide -- in Asia, Africa, the Mideast and the Sub-Continent. As TarlsQtr notes, it's more than a little curious that "Mark," whoever he actually is, thinks that only "Western" countries -- in other words, white countries -- count. The implication is that whites are morally superior to other races -- an implication that's racist, repugnant, and false.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 7, 2024 2:10:36 PM

There was a great episode on Law and Order years and years ago--a Nigerian Yoruba minor chief was involved in drug smuggling and it got someone killed. A Nigerian envoy got the guy out of the country and back to Nigeria. The DA excoriated the Nigerian envoy, and the envoy said, "[He] thought nothing of purchasing others' lives; now he will be made to pay, with his own." Back in the day, TV shows could be Miltonian (i.e., giving the other side a voice).

Posted by: federalist | Feb 8, 2024 7:51:35 AM

Not sure I have seen "Miltonian" used quite this way, federalist, but I like it.

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 8, 2024 11:12:38 AM

Doug and federalist --

I see that both of you were paying more attention in 11th grade English than I was.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 8, 2024 2:11:19 PM

If people like Bill Otis, Kay Ivey, Ron De Santis, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Greg Abbot should ever get falsely convicted of child rape, they would have to eat their words about victims' rights. That might jolt these people to reality!

Posted by: william delzell | Feb 11, 2024 5:11:28 PM

william delzell --

And if your five year-old daughter was raped by some hoodlum who got off because some fast-talking defense lawyer hoodwinked the jury, would that jolt you back to reality?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 13, 2024 2:23:15 PM

I see that Bill Otis is enjoying cosplaying Bernard Shaw (and imagining that William Delzell is Michael Dukakis) too much to recall that a basic premise of justice systems around the world for centuries has been that prosecutors must not bring cases in which they have a personal interest.

But sure, egg people on to obtain their own remedies for abuse and exploitation. Child rapes are fortunately extremely rare compared to wage theft, exposure to hazardous conditions in the workplace, and harassment (of every sort) by employers and managers, all of which occur by the literal millions every day.

Laborers, you have nothing to lose but your chains! Rise and strike, working people of the world! Bill Otis said it was OK!

Posted by: Pabst Blue Ribbon | Feb 14, 2024 6:31:48 AM

If anybody raped my son or daughter, I would want that rapist locked away so that he (or she--there is such a thing as females who rape, Mr. Otis) could not hurt another child again.

As for using the death penalty for child rape that does not involve the murder of a child by same rapist, I oppose it. The death penalty in a crime that does not involve murder might encourage the rapist to kill his or her child victim to keep the victim from testifying in court, thus depriving the prosecution of vital evidence needed for a guilty verdict.

Posted by: william delzell | Feb 17, 2024 3:12:23 PM

Wild Bill Otis:

I haven't been here much lately since it seems like there hasn't been that much activity regarding my favorite subject of the idiotic Sex Offense Registries.

But good to see you are still arguing with people. Good entertainment.

I read "https://ringsideatthereckoning.substack.com/p/trump-loses-the-argument-that-he". I did not get any insight at all about if you support Trump or not. Meh.

I will say that anyone who is still supporting Trump has some very serious issues. The only question is what and how deep.

Posted by: Will Allen | Mar 19, 2024 1:08:18 AM

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