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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.

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: geminiwench
2008-06-27 11:51 pm (UTC)
Very well said. If we were willing to sink the preventative money into counseling and education, we could drastically reduce our need for our totally corrupted and useless correction system... but, Americans have ALWAYS been a "buy now, pay later" type folk. Rather than the taxes it would cost to invest in counseling, job programs and education, which actually has a financial return in 20 years, not to mention a social return... we prefer to keep the money and pay 10x as much later for prisons, social poverty programs and and expanding police force with minimal training.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 11:56 pm (UTC)
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