Supreme Court Bans Death Penalty for Child Rape

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    Supreme Court Bans Death Penalty for Child Rape


    Thoughts on this one.........

    Court bans death penalty for child rape

    By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer 21 minutes ago

    The Supreme Court declared Wednesday that executions are too severe a punishment for raping children, despite the "years of long anguish" for victims, in a ruling that restricts the death penalty to murder and crimes against the state.

    The court's 5-4 decision struck down a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for people convicted of raping children under 12. It spares the only people in the U.S. under sentence of death for that crime two Louisiana men convicted of raping girls 5 and 8.

    The ruling also invalidates laws on the books in five other states that allowed executions for child rape that does not result in the death of the victim.

    However devastating the crime to children, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion, "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child." His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

    There has not been an execution in the United States for a crime that did not also involve the death of the victim in 44 years, a factor that weighed in Kennedy's decision.

    Rape and other crimes "may be as devastating in their harm, as here, but 'in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public,' they cannot be compared to murder in their 'severity and irrevocability,'" Kennedy said, quoting from earlier decisions.

    The victim in the case decided Wednesday was an 8-year-old girl raped by her stepfather at their home in Harvey, La., outside New Orleans.

    Angry Louisianans who backed the law said the court was out of touch.

    "The opinion reads more like an out-of-control legislative debate than a constitutional analysis," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican. "One thing is clear: The five members of the court who issued the opinion do not share the same 'standards of decency' as the people of Louisiana."

    With the court already on record this term reaffirming the constitutionality of capital punishment in a case dealing with lethal injection, Kennedy dwelt at length on the need to limit the death penalty to the most heinous killings.

    The decision allows death sentences to continue to be imposed for crimes such as treason, espionage and terrorism, which Kennedy labeled as crimes against the state.

    The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman.

    Forty-four states prohibit the death penalty for any kind of rape, and five states besides Louisiana have allowed it for child rapists Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

    The court struggled over how to apply standards laid out in decisions barring executions for the mentally retarded and people younger than 18 when they committed murder. In those cases, the court cited trends in the states away from capital punishment.

    In this case, proponents of the Louisiana law said the trend was toward the death penalty, a point mentioned by Justice Samuel Alito in his dissent.

    "The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapists is grave," Alito wrote. "It is the judgment of the Louisiana lawmakers and those in an increasing number of other states that these harms justify the death penalty."

    But Kennedy said the absence of any recent executions for rape and the small number of states that allow it demonstrate "there is a national consensus against capital punishment for the crime of child rape."

    Kennedy acknowledged that the decision had to come to terms with "the years of long anguish that must be endured by the victim of child rape."

    Still, he concluded that in cases of crimes against individuals, "the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim's life was not taken."

    He also cited arguments made by social workers and others that children and their families might not cooperate with authorities if a death sentence could result against the rapist. In many cases, including the one before the court, the victim and rapist are related.

    The author of the Louisiana law, former Republican state Rep. Pete Schneider, said even opponents of the death penalty told him they would kill anyone who raped their children. "When are you going to have the courage to stand up for what's right for all of the people but especially the children under 12 that have been brutally raped by monsters?" Schneider demanded, directing his comments to the justices in Wednesday's majority.

    The last executions for crimes other than murder took place in 1964, according to a database maintained by the Death Penalty Information Center.

    Ronald Wolfe, 34, died in Missouri's gas chamber on May 8, 1964, for rape. James Coburn was electrocuted in Alabama on Sept. 4 of that year for robbery.

    The case before the court involved Patrick Kennedy, 43, who was sentenced to death for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter in Louisiana.

    Kennedy was convicted in 2003. The girl initially told police she was sorting Girl Scout cookies in the garage when two boys assaulted her.

    Police arrested Kennedy a couple of weeks after the March 1998 rape, but more than 20 months passed before the girl identified him as her attacker.

    His defense attorney at the time argued that blood testing was inconclusive and that the victim was pressed to change her story.

    The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the sentence, saying that "short of first-degree murder, we can think of no other non-homicide crime more deserving" of the death penalty. State Chief Justice Pascal Calogero noted in dissent that the U.S. high court already had made clear that capital punishment could not be imposed without the death of the victim, except possibly for espionage or treason.

    The girl's mother was reached by The Associated Press following the court's decision Wednesday. "We don't talk about that," she said and hung up.

    A second Louisiana defendant, Richard Davis, was given the death penalty in December for repeatedly raping a 5-year-old girl in Caddo Parish.

    Local prosecutor Lea Hall told jurors: "Execute this man. Justice has a sword and this sword needs to swing today." Both men will get new sentences.

    The case is Kennedy v. Louisiana, 07-343.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Janet McConnaughey contributed to this report from New Orleans.

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    We need to legalize dueling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by futurepilot View Post
    We need to legalize dueling.
    x2.

    I am disappointed in the supreme court on this one.
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    The decision allows death sentences to continue to be imposed for crimes such as treason, espionage and terrorism, which Kennedy labeled as crimes against the state.
    children are the future and are just as important as "the state"

    it's a deplorable decision!
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    I would support life in prison, and death in cases of mutilation of children...but for just rape, I actually think they made the right call.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsade View Post
    just rape.
    If any of your family members, or close friends ever get raped/molested, remember you said that it was "just" rape.
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    a child who's been violated suffers a life sentence so why should the offender, their innocence is mutilated and spirit destroyed.

    save tax $$$ and send them were they belong, six feet under
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    i say let the prison inmates have them. Child molesters have it worse in prison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindgame View Post
    i say let the prison inmates have them. Child molesters have it worse in prison.


    Death is too easy, they should be made to suffer like hell on earth.

    :bruce3:
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    Quote Originally Posted by futurepilot View Post
    If any of your family members, or close friends ever get raped/molested, remember you said that it was "just" rape.
    As a matter of fact, they have...so don't presume to know what I think.

    Just the same as someone who falls victim to robbery would love to "kill the mother****er" who ripped him off, there has to be some temperance and ****ing rational thought that guides out judicial system - we are not savages.

    When a life is not taken, then there had better be some ****ing serious other damage done to even consider a death penalty.
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    rape of a child should constitute the death penalty. but they would have to make provision to intervene when the facts involve say a 18yr old and a minor, that would need a special clause. but for an aged adult of over 21 raping a minor, they shouldnt have the luxuary of having a "relatively" easy life in prison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigironkiller View Post
    rape of a child should constitute the death penalty. but they would have to make provision to intervene when the facts involve say a 18yr old and a minor, that would need a special clause. but for an aged adult of over 21 raping a minor, they shouldnt have the luxuary of having a "relatively" easy life in prison.
    Can you explain how you came to this conclusion? What criteria constitutes "should"?

    Hell, bullying damages kids for life sometimes...death penalty for bullying!!


    Side Note: I can't say that something horrific like this happening again to a loved one would not push me to take my own revenge, but we are discussing standards of a civil society, and these concepts have to be defended and placed in perspective. I'm sure 350 years ago it made perfect "sense" to execute witches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsade View Post
    don't presume to know what I think.

    Just the same as someone who falls victim to robbery

    we are not savages.

    No presumption neeeded, you clearly stated the it was "just rape".

    Robbery is nowhere near as morally repugnant as rape.

    Depends on your definition of civilized, along with who you would consider savage.

    That child will NEVER lead a completely normal life. People that would rape a child no longer deserve a place in my world.
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    if someone raped my 8 year old daughter or son, i'd make sure that f*cker paid and paid dearly.

    the judicial system is flawed with it comes to victims rights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by futurepilot View Post
    No presumption neeeded, you clearly stated the it was "just rape".

    Robbery is nowhere near as morally repugnant as rape.

    Depends on your definition of civilized, along with who you would consider savage.

    That child will NEVER lead a completely normal life. People that would rape a child no longer deserve a place in my world.
    Actually, if you read my post I used the phrase "just rape" to differentiate it from, say, rape/torture or rape/mutliation, etc. - extenuating circumstances that, in my view, WOULD warrant a death penalty.

    It was not used to downplay or trivialize rape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsade View Post
    Can you explain how you came to this conclusion? What criteria constitutes "should"?

    Hell, bullying damages kids for life sometimes...death penalty for bullying!!


    Side Note: I can't say that something horrific like this happening again to a loved one would not push me to take my own revenge, but we are discussing standards of a civil society, and these concepts have to be defended and placed in perspective. I'm sure 350 years ago it made perfect "sense" to execute witches.
    DSADE, i dont know how could be more clear.
    1. statutory rape scenario: 18yr old with a 16yr old: no death penalty
    2. obvious case of an over 21 adult raping a young child, 10yrs or less: death penalty
    3. any obvious malicious rape of a child by an adult: death npenalty

    scenario 1: needs to be made fully clear that a teen sexual relations deemed statutory, but not malicious need not be a death penalty. im sure you know and society would know what needs be in place to kill a child rapist. and if you think a child rapist doesnt deserve the death penalty, i cant see how you come to that conclusion.....
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    I posted this article because I actually live in Louisiana and I was wondering what others thought about it looking on the outside. I'd probably say that the majority of our state believes that the death penalty should be an option as a sentence for this type of crime under certain circumstances. The thing that everyone needs to realize is that not every child rapist receives this type of judgment for their crime. I can understand that some people oppose the death penalty for crimes that did not involve murder or flat out oppose it altogether, but this is one of those instances where you have to stop and ask yourself "how horrid was the crime involving child rape that it resulted in a death sentence?" I'm more pro-death than pro-life in this argument, but I could probably live with a child rapist getting life in prison, but only if they were guaranteed to be living in the general population and in not some sort of protected custody.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow-mun View Post
    I'm more pro-death than pro-life in this argument, but I could probably live with a child rapist getting life in prison, but only if they were guaranteed to be living in the general population and in not some sort of protected custody.
    that's what really bugs me about protective custody for child rapists, why should they be protected in prision?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigironkiller View Post
    DSADE, i dont know how could be more clear.
    1. statutory rape scenario: 18yr old with a 16yr old: no death penalty
    2. obvious case of an over 21 adult raping a young child, 10yrs or less: death penalty
    3. any obvious malicious rape of a child by an adult: death npenalty

    scenario 1: needs to be made fully clear that a teen sexual relations deemed statutory, but not malicious need not be a death penalty. im sure you know and society would know what needs be in place to kill a child rapist. and if you think a child rapist doesnt deserve the death penalty, i cant see how you come to that conclusion.....
    I think most states have guilines for what can be considered statutory rape. I live in PA and I'm pretty sure as long as your not 3 or more years older it's legal. And a 16 year old in PA CAN consent to sex. So it doesn't matter how old the other person is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentBob187 View Post
    x2.

    I am disappointed in the supreme court on this one.
    Ditto, raping kids is just seriously fukced up!!
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    Unfortunately i have to deal with situations like this in my job at times. Cops, Firemen, and medical personal often bear witness to the horrible aftermath of these types of crimes. I can say through my own personal experiences with situations like this over the years, it has certainly changed my own views on the right punishment to fit the crime.

    My stance is this. I don't care if it was an elderly person, middle age adult, teenager, or your child. The horror that these people endured will forever scar their memories and very existance.

    I fully support life in prison with the possibility of the death penalty being implemented if seen fit. I've always supported capital punishment, and i always will.

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    It's not my place to say wether people who have not affected my life in any way should live or die. I may consider supporting allowing the option of letting the victim or victim's guardian/immediate kin making the decision between life in a cage or cowardly death. Either would be unbearable to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trauma1 View Post

    I fully support life in prison with the possibility of the death penalty being implemented if seen fit. I've always supported capital punishment, and i always will.
    i long for the day the death penality gets brought back in my country.

    friggin low life scum keep killing and killing innocent people even after they out on parole after doing their first stretch in jail for murder.

    why should my hard earned $$$ paid in tax go to feeding and housing these S.O.B's when a simple injection would fix the situation.
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    I disagree with the decision, if only due to 'crime's against the State' being deemed 'death penalty worthy' in lieu of child rape. The decision was predicated upon moral depravity, it seems, and such a malicious act is surely more morally reprehensible than a crime against a civil aggregate.

    If we consider the judicial system as a mechanism of social regulation, such that acts perceived to be disturbing to that particular community's* normative sense-of-self must be punished, then consider the following: an act of malicious violence toward a child is far more degradative, and contradictory to, the normative sense of a community than a single act of dissent - the dissent is merely more potentially damaging to the ossified superstructure of the collective, rather than the collective itself.

    If such an act is deemed punishable by death, so to should child rape.

    *community used in respects to any collection of individuals bonded by common moral, linguistic, normative, cultural, or geographic similarities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by b unit View Post
    i long for the day the death penality gets brought back in my country.

    friggin low life scum keep killing and killing innocent people even after they out on parole after doing their first stretch in jail for murder.

    why should my hard earned $$$ paid in tax go to feeding and housing these S.O.B's when a simple injection would fix the situation.
    I vote for the firing squad personally..
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    Quote Originally Posted by b unit View Post
    why should my hard earned $$$ paid in tax go to feeding and housing these S.O.B's when a simple injection would fix the situation.
    What I don't understand is why prisoners are allowed to live on death row for long after a death sentence. I believe there should be a timely limit, for the sake of all involved, and for the economy. Perhaps the federal gov't could appoint a person whose sole job is to familiarize himself with the cases
    and decide wether or not pardons/life sentences would be granted instead of letting people linger on for years draining our tax dollars, vainly hoping their state's governor is even familiar with the case, much less be willing to grant leniency at the last second.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwanderer View Post
    What I don't understand is why prisoners are allowed to live on death row for long after a death sentence. I believe there should be a timely limit, for the sake of all involved, and for the economy. Perhaps the federal gov't could appoint a person whose sole job is to familiarize himself with the cases
    and decide wether or not pardons/life sentences would be granted instead of letting people linger on for years draining our tax dollars, vainly hoping their state's governor is even familiar with the case, much less be willing to grant leniency at the last second.
    They are allowed every chance of appeal and that takes an enormous amount of time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by b unit View Post
    a child who's been violated suffers a life sentence so why should the offender, their innocence is mutilated and spirit destroyed.

    save tax $$$ and send them were they belong, six feet under
    Damn right. Kill 'em. They robbed the victim of their right to life; so too should their right be forfeited.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCrownedOne View Post
    Damn right. Kill 'em. They robbed the victim of their right to life; so too should their right be forfeited.
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    I would have no problem with the death penalty in these cases, but i do see why the court ruled the way they did. People should be more concerned about the states like Vermont, that have such disgusting liberal judges. I would rather see articles about that.
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