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The death of innocence. [Jun. 27th, 2008|02:45 pm]
randomposting
[mood |bitchybitter]
[music |Wall-E chat.]

Okay. The time has come again for a not very lighthearted post.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-scotus26-2008jun26,0,5953610.story

WASHINGTON -- A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child is unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the court overturned a Louisiana law that called for the death penalty for raping a child under 12, and it removed from death row a man convicted of attacking his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the opinion, saying, in essence, that the crime, awful as it is, does not merit capital punishment.

"The incongruity between the crime of child rape and the harshness of the death penalty poses risks of over-punishment and counsels against a constitutional ruling that the death penalty can be expanded to include this offense," Kennedy wrote.

He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, criticized the court's decision at a Chicago news conference.

"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," he said.

"I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime, and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances, the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that does not violate our Constitution."

Obama has frequently cited the near-abolishment of the death penalty in Illinois as one of his top legislative accomplishments.

His probable Republican opponent in the presidential race, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, also objected.

"Today's Supreme Court ruling is an assault on law enforcement's efforts to punish these heinous felons for the most despicable crime," McCain said. "That there is a judge anywhere in America who does not believe that the rape of a child represents the most heinous of crimes, which is deserving of the most serious of punishments, is profoundly disturbing."

The four members of the court's conservative wing also sharply criticized the ruling, saying a small but growing number of states had determined that the rape of a child deserved the death penalty; they said the court majority was interfering with that judgment.

"The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapists is grave," Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. 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."

Alito was joined in his dissent by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

The court in 1977 ruled that the death penalty for rapists was unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. That decision involved the rape of a 16-year-old female, whom the court considered an adult.

More than a decade ago, Louisiana made rape a capital crime if the victim was younger than 12. The state said it has sought the death penalty in only five cases, twice obtaining a capital verdict.

Several other states, including Texas, Georgia and South Carolina, have similar laws, but they require that the assailant have committed a second, separate offense before the death penalty is an option.

The defendant in the case on which the court ruled Wednesday, Patrick Kennedy, has maintained his innocence. He had been offered life in prison if he pleaded guilty. He refused and was sentenced to death in 2003.

He and his stepdaughter originally said that two boys assaulted her in March 1998 in the backyard of their home in Jefferson Parish, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. But police found inconsistencies in Kennedy's story and blood on sheets inside the home. The girl was badly injured and required surgery.

Kennedy, 43, will still face life in prison with no possibility of parole. His lawyers plan to appeal his conviction.


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So, if someone rapes a child, do you think they should be executed?

I'll state openly that if someone hurt my child in this way if the law wasn't willing to execute that person I would probably take it into my own hands.

I think that rape, especially raping a child is far worse then murder. The murder of innocence is a crime that I don't think should be rewarded with internet, cable tv, gyms, and other perks that the prison system currently provides for those convicted of these crimes.

I also think the fact that people get longer sentences for drug related crimes to rape/child molestation is disgusting, and something must be done.

Anyway, I'm sorry to bring up a topic that is so controversial, but I'm wondering what all of your opinions are on this.


----

And completely unrelated.

http://www.glumbert.com/media/rolluphill

Rolling up a hill.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: monicarnsg
2008-06-27 07:52 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. People that hurt children are the worst kind of criminals, and must have a harsh punishment.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 07:53 pm (UTC)
*nod* I've always felt that way, but now that I have a child, it's magnified by like ten-thousand.
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[User Picture]From: theprimrosepath
2008-06-27 07:56 pm (UTC)
I'd need some more time to contemplate that one before I decide how I feel about that one, but I will say that, given what tends to happen to child molesters in prison, the death penalty might occasionally be more merficul. Yikes.

Not that I'd particularly advocate mercy here...
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 07:58 pm (UTC)
I fully support them having to wear some sort of identification as to what their crime was so that all of the prison population would know.

Let justice take it's own course I suppose, huh?
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[User Picture]From: badasher
2008-06-27 07:59 pm (UTC)
I think this is one of the instances were the "cruel & unusual" clause in the Constitution should be forgotten. If you look back at the word punishment, it's etymological begining is the latin word "poena", which means "pain, punishment, penalty". In this particular instance, I think the first word in that definition is particularly important. Anyone that commits that sort of act upon a child deserves the worst possible punishment inflicted on them -- execution. I'd go so far as to revisit some of the methods from the good Ol' Days. Drawing and quartering anyone?

The "death of innocence" as you so aptly put it is perhaps one of the worst crimes that can be committed. It affects the victim physically, emotionally, and psychologically for the rest of their lives and thrusts them into the harshest realities of the world much, much to soon. To say that a fiend doesn't deserve the worst possible outcome for such an act(s) is a ridiculously callous statement that doesn't taken into consideration the horrors of the crime.


Edited at 2008-06-27 08:00 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 08:03 pm (UTC)
EXACTLY! Said better then I ever could. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: decembertyger
2008-06-27 08:04 pm (UTC)
Notice that with the rape decision they said we could have handguns. The irony was not lost one me :D I can't say that if someone raped my child they would be in good shape when I got done with them.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 08:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, nice point. I don't like guns though, either so i'm not cheering for that choice.
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[User Picture]From: pandora_blue
2008-06-27 08:05 pm (UTC)

You know,

I am torn on this one. I was raped by a family member as a very small child. While it would have been nice to have some justice (that is a long convoluted story), I would have felt extremely guilty that I had caused this person's death. To be heaped with the fact that I was abused and then that I caused this person to be killed, even though he did the abusing, is I think a lot to put on a kid. I mean sure, you can tell the child that he/she is not responsible for this course of action, but they will always feel that they are, which is especially hard if it was a family member doing the abusing.

I am all for castration,though, and I am not talking reversible chemicals either. I mean take a pair of really rusted shears that the ranchers use and lop those bad boys off. Any resulting infection... oh well.
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[User Picture]From: decembertyger
2008-06-27 08:50 pm (UTC)

Re: You know,

I think this is the main reason they said no to the death penalty. Your right. It is NOT the childs / victims fault in ANY WAY. I was sexualy abused as a child also. I know rationaly that anything that happens to the abuser is a direct result of a choice THEY made. Not me. Though I can see how I might have trouble dealing with "Uncle Joe", a brother, Father, or any other relative (male or female) dieing because I did the right thing and told.
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[User Picture]From: frontdoorangel
2008-06-27 08:16 pm (UTC)
My knee jerk reaction is that someone who rapes an 8 year old is in no way able to be rehablilitated back into society so what would really be the point of keeping them around. It's pretty inhumane to say it, but, they are just a burden on our society and our economy and a menace besides. Once you become a predator you should be treated like a predator and eliminated from being able to cause further harm.

However, as screwed up as the system is right now, especially where sexual abuse is concerned, I don't know.

There's the case of the woman in Georgia who is labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life for sleeping with a 17 year old boy when she was 18..there needs to be serious reform and with that reform needs to be a clarification and a relization that these ARE serious crimes that need serious punishments.

However, I'm not holding my breath that there will be any positive change in the near future, so I keep my kids as close as possible.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:10 pm (UTC)
Very good points all. There does need to be serious reform. That 18/17 thing is ridiculous. Especially snce he's being put on the same list as the 40/9 one. And that is not not not okay. Argh.
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[User Picture]From: runeenigma
2008-06-27 08:18 pm (UTC)
In general, I think the death penalty is too extreme for most offenses -- but if someone raped a child, I think they should die.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:11 pm (UTC)
Agreed entirely.
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[User Picture]From: dogmeatnyc
2008-06-27 08:19 pm (UTC)
Against the state killing people. Imprison the person for life with no parole.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:13 pm (UTC)
In the current prison system? How do you feel about all of the luxuries afforded convicts?
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[User Picture]From: dwaleberry
2008-06-27 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'm against the death penalty...because it's not punishment enough for forcing a child to live with that hellish memory for the rest of its life. Now week-long torturing prior to the hideously slow killing of the rapist? Awesome.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:12 pm (UTC)
Definitely awesome. I agree entirely.
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[User Picture]From: marguerlucy
2008-06-27 08:29 pm (UTC)
Hmmm.... I am REALLY on the fence as far as the death penalty goes period, and I tend to fall off on the "against" side of it. However, I do have these things to say on the situation you posted:

"The incongruity between the crime of child rape and the harshness of the death penalty poses risks of over-punishment..."

Wow. Raping an innocent child is not as terrible as punishing the man who committed the assault?? its horrifying that someone put that on paper.

Barack Obama's comments

I can't even imagine having to deal with the death penalty as a politician. But the man definitely did his job here - he keeps up awareness that child assault is one of the worst offenses you can commit, even as he pushes not to flip the switch on everyone. Dicey.....
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:15 pm (UTC)
What a horrific comment, right!? Omg!

And way to go Obama! I grow to like this man more and more every day.
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[User Picture]From: jehannamama
2008-06-27 08:31 pm (UTC)
Death may be too good for them... but for some reason, our prisons don't believe in punishing inmates quite enough for this type of crime. A small child who is raped often has horrific physical sequelae and is often left unable to bear children - not to mention the effects on one's mind. Boys, well... it's just as bad.

I would hope they are never let out of prison again, though. Never. No exceptions.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:21 pm (UTC)
Agreed ENTIRELY!
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[User Picture]From: rowenablue
2008-06-27 08:46 pm (UTC)
one of the problems i have with such a ruling (and for the record, i'm anti-capital punishment) is why is raping a child under twelve worse than raping a thirteen year old? if it's going to be applied for attacks on eleven year olds, it should also be applied for thirteen year olds.
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From: christinaathena
2008-06-27 09:11 pm (UTC)
Well, that's the inevitable result of distinguishing between children and adults - you have to choose some arbitrary cut-off point. Why are 18-year-olds mature enough to vote, but 17-years-and-364-day-olds not? Why can you drink at 21, but not at 20 years and 364 days?
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From: lennoxmacbeth
2008-06-27 08:50 pm (UTC)
I support the death penalty for rape - whether it's of a child or an adult. I also support it for other heinous offenses. Is it barbaric? Yes, absolutely.

The problem is that in "civilized" societies, ones that don't condone or use the death penalty, there is an effective Department of Corrections and a strong push for prevention of crimes. Our country has neither and is not willing to work toward either. Our "Department of Corrections" doesn't correct anything. Interestingly enough, the Decepticon squad car in the Transformers movie was badged with "To Punish and Enslave" - and that's exactly what our justice system does. It metes out punishment and traps those in the system in the mindset that they are criminals and are never going to be anything but criminals. Is it any wonder a quarter of our adult population is or has been behind bars? Those who don't get out live off of taxpayer dollars, and those who do get out are released as better criminals. Do we want someone convicted of a heinous crime - including rape - to be released back onto the street knowing better how to commit their crimes and how to evade capture? Do we, as taxpayers, continue the burden of paying for them to live out the rest of their life in "humane" circumstances when the money could be used elsewhere for prevention programs, health care, education or after school programs? Or do we sink one lump sum into an execution and know that the individual will not be back out in society again?

I'm all for pushing for a better society as an alternative. However, that requires a complete rehaul of how American life works, and the vast majority of Americans ARE NOT willing to sacrifice to have an overall better life. When Senator Obama first started campaigning, he spoke of a plan to give every high school graduate $4000 for college if they put in community service in exchange - and immediately the whining and bitching started up. "Why should I help some homeless shelter?" "I'm not going to pick up garbage." "I don't have kids, I shouldn't have to work at a youth center." "Those desperate families shouldn't have kids they can't afford - I'm not going to help them." And yet we wonder why we live in a society that not only produces dickwads like that child rapist, but where said scum are able to get married, live around children, and very nearly get away with the crime by pawning it off on non-existent offenders. Living with an "all about me" attitude is also barbaric, and until Americans understand that, we will have to live with a barbaric form of crime resolution.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:38 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. Agreed ten billion percent. Holy shit. That sums up my entire opinion on the situation, but a lot more clearly then I ever could.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:40 pm (UTC)
How do you feel about the situation now where someone convicted of that crime will serve 5-10 years in prison with internet, tv, a gym, three squares a day, etc, and then let go? All on your tax dollar?
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