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

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


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.


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.


Rolling up a hill.

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[User Picture]From: zoombinilover
2008-06-28 02:35 am (UTC)
I am completely anti death penalty, no matter the circumstance. I don't see my stance on this ever changing, but anything is possible. When I have kids, I know if anyone lays a pinky on them, all hell will break loose. However, no matter how badly someone hurts a child (even my child), no matter how many times I may say I wish that person was dead, I don't think I could ever truly wish the death penalty upon someone.

Instead, I think those people need prison time and help. A helluva lot of help.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 02:48 am (UTC)
I don't think child molesters and rapists can be helped personally.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 03:55 am (UTC)
Oh man. What a mess. :(
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[User Picture]From: trish_punch
2008-06-28 04:02 am (UTC)
A police officer called into talk radio where I live and brought up that some police were afraid that if a child raper knew that he could get executed, then he would kill the child to get rid of the victim, who then could not testify at a trial. (I typed "he" because that's the English language default. No offense intended to anyone.)

If it makes you feel any better, Louisiana already is working on a law that says "Fine! Then the judge has the option of ordering chemical castration!" Personally, I think the physical kind would be merited.

Being a mom, I've said that if anyone ever touches my child, that person better pray that he stays in prison, where accidents can't happen to him.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 04:04 am (UTC)
Exactly. *nod*
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From: docjeff
2008-06-28 04:50 am (UTC)
I don't believe in death as punishment for crime(s). It completely goes against my nature. I *do* think the concept of life at hard labor should be re-instituted and encouraged, however. Some crimes really do deserve a harsher punishment but depriving someone of their life, even when they did something this heinous, simply cannot be the answer. *shrugs*
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 04:51 am (UTC)
I can defintely see that. Mainly I want those that have done things like this to suffer.
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From: pixiepancake
2008-06-28 04:59 am (UTC)

yes. they should.

i think ... that guy is going to get killed, with or without the judiciary system's approval of such a punishment. i'm sure somebody will be pissed enough (maybe even his stepdaughter?) to do what needs to be done. i have never had any faith in 'the system' :/

[sorry that sounds really, ah, conspiracy-theorist anarchist nonsense etc.]

but everybody knows there's no justice anymore. just a lot of fines and paperwork.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:00 am (UTC)

Re: yes. they should.

So true.
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[User Picture]From: thecolourclear
2008-06-28 05:59 am (UTC)

I can't say this right, so I'm just going to quote (parts cut out)

Mr. President, this next question is on capital punishment, which you oppose: If your youngest daughter Zoey was raped and murdered, would you not want to see the man responsible put to death?

[blah blah blah faltering response]

[to Leo] You weren't kidding. [to Bartlet] What's the matter with you? When
I left you... I just mentioned your daughter being murdered, and you're giving us an answer that's not only soporific, it's barely human! Yes, you'd want to see him put to death. You'd want it to be cruel and unusual, which is why it's probably a good idea that fathers of murder victims don't have legal rights in these situations.

So, no, I agree with the majority opinion. I don't think the death penalty should be an option here.

Edited at 2008-06-28 06:01 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:17 pm (UTC)

Re: I can&#39;t say this right, so I&#39;m just going to quote (parts cut out)

*Nod* A very valid point. I just want them removed from society forever. They don't have to die, just so long as they never have contact with a child again.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:20 pm (UTC)
*nod* Agreed.
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[User Picture]From: sensibleken
2008-06-28 11:32 am (UTC)
i disagree with the death penalty in all circumstances no matter what. child abuse, genocide etc. i dont see it serving any purpose other than vengence and although i would most likely feel like taking the law into my own hands in this situation its the states job to prevent that not condone it and especially not mimic it.

i was reading recently of how capital punishment was shunned in ancient ireland as a punishment because in their view no body was above the law, not king nor peasant nor state and if killing and theft etc were wrong it did not matter who perpetrated it, a peasant or the state, it was still wrong.

the point is that the law is there to make a clear point of what is acceptable in the given society. if there are exceptions to when it is acceptable to kill a person such as capital punishment, that means that the exceptions are open to interpretation and alot of people can have very loose interpretations of when that is acceptable
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:39 pm (UTC)
*nod* Interesting points all.

What do you think is the answer to crimes of this caliber?
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[User Picture]From: lottieloo
2008-06-28 11:55 am (UTC)
Personally I don't agree with the death penalty but if someone raped my child I would probably want to see them executed. Rape is such a difficult crime to deal with and it is baffling why a person gets less time in prison for that than for a burglary or theft offence.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:40 pm (UTC)
EXACTLY!!! That's what kills me. It's just brushed aside.
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[User Picture]From: lynphoenyx
2008-06-28 04:07 pm (UTC)

you did choose a doozy

I am anti-death penalty. I have always been. I am not anti-protecting my family. If someone attacks my family in front of me, I will not hesitate to shoot them. I will also feel no remorse for the life I took. I know it's harsh, but it's true.
During the first 24 hours of me finding out about an incident that happened some time before, 50 years ago even, I was still probably try to actively kill the person if the incident would have made me pull the trigger in the first place.
I am a very protective mother and I love my daughter more than life its self.
Now if someone raped her and eluded me for those first 24 hours, I would not kill them. I would however work to get them thrown in the toughest prison around and spread the word of their crime.
There is honor amongst criminals. Even they do not tolerate child rapists.

Back to anti-death penalty. I fully believe in our system of PROVING guilt. There must be no reasonable doubt. Even even one innocent person is wrongly convicted then we should all weep. Look up how many people were released years later after DNA evidence found their innocence.

The system is not perfect so death penatly should not be an option. If someone has enough money, they can get off scot free or at the very least have death penatly removed as an option. A jury of your peers also not so much of your peers. Smaller communities where everyone knows everyone or at least knows someone that knows the victim or the defendant...there is no way they're coming in with a clean slate and no agenda. Now I grew up in such a community and loved it, but I never broke the law or pissed off the wrong person.

Someone stated above about the "privileges" of some inmates over law abiding citizens. Please do not believe that hype. Don't get me wrong. There are prisons that do it. Mostly men's prisons.

Now, I have not been to nor have I heard of a woman's prison that anything better than being free or even on par.

My mother was on death row for most of my life. In 1999 she was taken off death row. A jury of her peers did not give her death row. The judge took it upon himself to upgrade the penalty the jury wanted. If I could afford a good lawyer, my mom would not be in prison now.

Unfortunately, her case happened in early 80's in a small rural community. Lots of national news as well. It is a long long story. If you want to know it, friend me and I will point you to the posts about my parents. Random if you haven't already read them, look up the tag parents.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:51 pm (UTC)

Re: you did choose a doozy

I do know your story. *HUGS*

And I agree that it is a terribly flawed system because of how many innocent people are sent to jail, and how much racial, gender, and other biases are part of sentencing. It's a nightmare.

But it seems that for child rape it'd be pretty clear that they had indeed done so, through dna testing, and the child as a witness, if they hadn't murdered the child.

If this happened to my child, if I didn't kill whoever did it, I want to make sure they at least suffered terribly and I agree that can happen in prison. I just hate to see people who abuse children getting 5-10 and then being released, and doing it again. And again.

There's such a high return rate for these crimes, of the belief that they should be permanently removed from society. And without the nice things that those I know who have been in jail have had. Such as cable *HBO!* and internet. That just pisses me off.
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[User Picture]From: cloakofnonsense
2008-06-28 05:15 pm (UTC)
my opinion still stands. the death penalty is wrong no matter the crime. killing a person will do nothing but remove them from the world-an easy way out. the death penalty obviously does not deter crime, it's just a form of vengeance that solves nothing. a lifetime in prison with very limited privileges seems like it would send a much stronger message to me. while still respecting human rights, even those of heinous criminals (no torture), they should be forced to live in relative discomfort for the rest of their lives.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-28 05:54 pm (UTC)
Well, I believe it deters repeat offenders permanently. lol but you do have a good point about revenge. I just think they need to be removed from society permanently and I don't care how it's done. And I like your approach.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-29 12:19 am (UTC)
This is very true. How do you feel it should be dealt with? Lifetime incarceration or should a child rapist ever be allowed to be free again?
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[User Picture]From: sensibleken
2008-06-29 12:38 am (UTC)
sorry to coment again but ive noticed a trend in this this post.

i think everyone is agreed that the prison system, and by extension the criminal justice system worldwide is deeply flawed.

we must remember that the idea of prisons as we know them today is only 200 years since its inception and truely became in the modern sense in the victorian age. in one of my local jails ~(kilmainham gaol)there are cases of a boy of 13 being executed for stealing a gentlemens hankerchief

this illustrates that the severity of a crime will differ with the age in which it is commited as will the rights of an individual within that age. some one above refered to the american constitution written 200 odd years ago as an authoritive document on right and wrong. this is negated by all sensible arguement.

this system of jurisprudence looks to the past for precident rather than looking to the future for the general advancement of the human race and if in the case of america they are refering to a document that is 200 years old, in paticular this 'cruel and unusual punishment'(that presumably omits waterboarding), that one of the designers james madison said should be re-written at every generation, then the posibility of real justice is non existant. look at france they have had 4 constititions in the past 200 years, irelands has changed beyond recognition to the first one.

there needs to be a radical shift from historical precident to future prevention. and i really belive its everyones duty as citizens to think and vote in this direction. i just whish my countryfolk did that when it came to the lisbon treaty
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-29 12:54 am (UTC)
Very very good points all. I agree entirely. I wonder if we'l get to a point where this will happen, you know? America as a rule hasn't been very foreward thinking when it comes to this sort of thing.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-29 05:16 am (UTC)
What do you think is the correct punishment then? For ruining a childs life?
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[User Picture]From: vdkapenguin
2008-06-30 04:43 am (UTC)
It is only out of fundamental hatred for the death penalty that I say no. It's not that a child rapist doesn't maybe deserve to die, but hiding a bitter act of murder behind a judicial process does not make it any less a murder. I'm tired of our society being under the comfortable delusion that some person who sits through years of law school earns the right to decide whether a human being deserves to live.
That being said, I don't trust the source of this ruling, as it comes from the same systems that have sentenced many people to death for far more forgivable crimes.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-30 04:48 am (UTC)
Very good points all.
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