Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Should the penalty for a convicted child rapist be the same as the penalty for a murderer?

No, the death penalty is too harsh a punishment for this crime.
Yes, the rape of a child should be punishable by death.
Maybe, depending on the mental capacity of the rapist's.
No votes
Total votes: 3


Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Postby harleygrl35 » 2008 Jan 07 08:21

http://www.latimes.com/news/printeditio ... -a_section

Louisiana man is the only person to be executed who was not convicted of murder.
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 5, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Friday it would decide whether a convicted child rapist could be put to death, thereby reconsidering a four-decade hiatus on executions for crimes other than murder.

Rape was commonly prosecuted as a capital crime in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The last execution for rape was in 1964, in Missouri. But Louisiana and several other states have adopted laws in recent years that permit the death penalty for the rape of a child younger than 12.

The justices agreed to hear an appeal from Patrick O. Kennedy, 43, of Louisiana, who was convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

His lawyers described him has "the only person in the United States who is on death row for a nonhomicide offense." They argue that the death penalty for rape is unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, and note that the Supreme Court in a 1977 ruling described death as "an excessive penalty" for the rape of "an adult woman."

In Kennedy's appeal, lawyer Jeffrey L. Fisher argued that Louisiana's decision "flouts the overwhelming national consensus" against capital punishment for rape.

Louisiana's lawyers say that the trend of states authorizing execution for the rape of a child signals that such a punishment is neither cruel nor unusual.

This argument is a twist on the Supreme Court's recent opinions defining cruel and unusual punishment. When the justices abolished executions for the mentally retarded or people younger than 18 at the time of their crime, the majority pointed out that states had been retreating from putting young and mentally retarded people to death.

This logic on state trends should work in reverse too, Louisiana's lawyers say.

On the morning of March 2, 1998, Kennedy called the police to report that his stepdaughter had been raped by two teenagers in the neighborhood. She had severe injuries and heavy bleeding, and was taken away in an ambulance.

Investigators turned their attention to Kennedy when they found a trail of blood leading from the house. He had called a carpet-cleaning service to come to the house before he called the police.

Initially the stepdaughter confirmed Kennedy's story, but she later said he was her rapist. She testified against him; a jury convicted him, and in 2003 he was sentenced to death.

Kennedy's lawyer points out that from 1930 to 1964, about 90% of people executed for rape were, like Kennedy, black, as were all 14 Louisiana rapists executed during that period.

"This court should pause before condoning a practice so heavily tinged with the scourge of racism," Fisher, a professor at Stanford Law School, argued in a court filing.

Fisher also said Kennedy's IQ is low, about 70.

The last execution in the United States for a crime other than homicide was in September 1964, when Alabama electrocuted James Coburn for robbery. The death penalty itself was on the wane during that era, and in 1972 the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the death penalty as it was then being carried out.

Four years later, the justices revisited the issue and upheld the death penalty as a constitutional prerogative for the states. But in 1977, the court's decision in Coker vs. Georgia was widely seen as limiting the death penalty to crimes involving murder. The rape victim in that case was 16, but the court's opinion referred to the rape of "an adult woman."

In upholding Kennedy's death penalty, the Louisiana Supreme Court interpreted that phrase as leaving open the possibility that the rape of a child would be viewed differently. Louisiana's lawmakers in 1995 authorized the death penalty for the crime of aggravated rape when the victim was younger than 12.

Four other states -- South Carolina, Oklahoma, Montana and Texas -- permit capital punishment for a repeat child rapist, but no one has been sentenced to death under those laws.

Louisiana's judges noted that Congress had authorized the death penalty for offenses such as treason, espionage or air piracy, which may not result in death. However, no one has been sentenced to die under those provisions.

Several groups of counselors who work with child sex-abuse victims filed a brief urging the court to outlaw death sentences in these cases. These laws will backfire and worsen victims' situation, argued lawyer David Gossett. Indeed, they may "encourage offenders to kill the victims," he argued, if the penalty is the same for rape and murder.

The Supreme Court is to hear the case of Kennedy vs. Louisiana in April and is expected to issue a ruling by late June.
Last edited by harleygrl35 on 2008 Jan 07 09:28, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1940
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Postby Wise One » 2008 Jan 07 09:04

Nice to see you again harleygrl. I was about to vote in your poll, then realized I couldn't because I didn't understand it. Would you consider editing it, in the interest of clarity?

"The way it is" in Louisiana is to permit the death penalty for this offense, thus contradicting the "No" option.
"The maximum sentence" means different things to different people, and is not always the death penalty.

:happyt: Oh, that pesky English language. :happyt:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."


Re: Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Postby harleygrl35 » 2008 Jan 07 09:26

ARRGGHHHH!! I wondered when I posted that poll if it was going to be confusing!! :hammer:
I'll try to edit it, WO..thanks.
All edited, hopefully for the better.

User avatar
Posts: 1124
Joined: 2007 Jul 07 10:16

Re: Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Postby fangz1956 » 2008 Jan 07 16:15

I would say castration with a rusty knife would be appropriate punishment for the crime. But, child molesters generally don't fair well inside the prison population. So, a lengthy jail term is appropriate as the perpetrator would be at the mercy of the other inmates.

Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?


Re: Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Postby harleygrl35 » 2008 Jan 08 08:10

I'm not sure what the "correct" punishment should be for someone commiting this type of crime upon a child. I'm torn. The mother in me says they should die a veeery slooooow death by many acts of torture. What I do know is that no punishment meted out is ever going to make a predator "think twice".

I don't believe that crimes against children are punished harshly enough, and maybe in putting child predator's on death row would send a very strong statement. "If you harm our children, you will face the possibility of death" sounds pretty damn good to me right now.


Re: Justice's to rule on child rapist's death sentence

Postby RubyRed » 2008 Jan 08 17:12

As a nurse who works at a Children's Psych hospital, I see every day the effects that rape/sexual abuse has on a child. In some ways, the rapist has committed murder because the life the child had before the rape, ceases to exist. A child who has been raped or sexual abused is scarred for life. If the child is lucky, the parents will make sure the child gets mental health treatment to help them try to deal with the rape and all the feeling they will have regarding it. Unfortunately, there are children being abused by a family member and the child in not believed when the abuse is reported and so the abuse continues. I have mixed feelings about the Death Sentence for anybody. On one hand I feel the person who completes the act of the Death Sentence is just as guilty of murder, but on the other hand, I know if someone killed someone I know and love, I would want them to have the same thing done to them. I have often said if someone ever touched my child in that way, they better hope the police get to them before I do. :numc: