Bill to allow death penalty for certain charges against children voted through to senate

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 20:04:18-05

BOISE, Idaho — A bill that aims to make certain charges against children eligible for the death penalty moving forward at the Statehouse. I'm your Neighborhood Reporter Allie Triepke here at the Capitol where House lawmakers discussed House Bill 515, where they ultimately voted to send it to the Senate.

"The most heinous, the kind that we don’t even want to speak on here,” said Republican Representative Bruce Skaug who sponsored House Bill 515, which even he acknowledged would be an unconstitutional law.

It aims to make the most extreme cases of lewd conduct with a child under 12, to be eligible for the death penalty.

The third reading of the bill on Tuesday -hearing arguments on both sides- while some want these criminals punished to death, others say that's letting them off easy.

“It would be very rare that this case would happen, but it will happen, and I say to you, when you see that case, and read about it in the newspaper, you’re gonna say this one case that this needs to happen,” said Rep. Skaug.

“They are the least favored inmates at IDOC. They live a life of constant fear, and that is the life that they should live,” said Democrat Rep. Chris Mathias.

“And we are going to relieve the worst people in our society of the burden that they should carry for the rest of their lives,” said Rep. Mathias.

Most Republicans voted to pass the bill, while a vast majority of "no votes" came from Democrats.

“We need to go after the people who are committing lewd crimes and spend the money there and not spend it on ideology and on something that isn’t going to work. I can’t vote for something that is unconstitutional," said John L. Gannon, Democrat.

With an overwhelming majority of representatives voting in favor, the bill will now move forward to the Senate. Reporting from the Capitol, I'm your Neighborhood Reporter Allie Triepke for Idaho News 6.