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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.

[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: decembertyger
2008-06-27 08:45 pm (UTC)
I don't care for them much myself. I don't own one because I know if someone came into my home unwelcomed and tried to hurt my family I would have no problems using the gun. I think my problem would be later dealing with the fact I killed someone. I don't think the government should be able to tell people they can not have a gun though. Then only the criminals have the guns.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 09:22 pm (UTC)
Regardess of the criminal idea, what about the children who die every year because of people improperly storing these weapons?
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[User Picture]From: decembertyger
2008-06-27 09:39 pm (UTC)
Education. I have no problems with weapons having to be registered. With this registration I think there should be a safety course which tells you how to properly store your gun. If you have children they should be made to understand it is NOT a toy. It is NOT to be touched.
I grew up around and visited many homes with guns in them. I was taught what they did, how to use them, how not to use them, not to touch them without permission and supervision. The adults need to take responsibility to lock up their guns and teach their children. Safes, trigger locks, there are options.
I'd be curious to know the stats on who owned the guns these children were killed by. How many were illegal, unregistered, etc. Not to make it an excuse for a horriable tragity. just curious.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 10:07 pm (UTC)
I would be very interested in those stats as well.
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[User Picture]From: geminiwench
2008-06-28 12:09 am (UTC)
Ooooh... that is a fantastic thing to point out.

For me, it says, "We won't kill them for you. You know what the cost is for taking a life,... you have the right to do so, but you will also pay the punishment. If you want justice, we will put them in prison. If you want revenge, you have to understand we will be taking 10 years of your life with your family away. Prison IS a punishment, and you can either let him take it.. or you can take their life and see for yourself."

I would say that is perfect fairness. Although "fair" never really is "fair".. is it?
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[User Picture]From: decembertyger
2008-06-28 12:24 am (UTC)
Actualy in Oklahoma we have the "make my day law" if someone enters my home with the intent to harm me I am perfectly within the law to shoot and kill them.
"In Oklahoma (according to the Oklahoma State Courts Network), the amendment changes a number of other aspects of the Oklahoma Self Defense Act, the statutes concerning justifiable homicide. As 21 O.S. 2001, Section 1289.25 now lists circumstances in which it is presumed that a person who uses deadly force "reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.". In addition, it helps to protect law-abiding citizens from arrest when using deadly force. Law enforcement agencies must now have probable cause to believe that the use of deadly force was unlawful before an arrest can be made."

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