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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: 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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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 10:17 pm (UTC)
What they're doing is coming out of there as stronger criminals, with the knowledge of how to commit more crimes frm learning other criminal things to do from their fellow inmates.
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[User Picture]From: geminiwench
2008-06-27 11:43 pm (UTC)
I agree with Moira.... child rapists are not only hated OUTSIDE of prison, they are hated inside as well. Lots of criminals have a past of being molested themselves and remember the hate, anger and shame of it.. and many many more have children of their own who would kill anyone who got near them... just like you or I would. Believe me,.. they don't have it easy. Its not daycamp.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 11:45 pm (UTC)
Well, maybe this is harsh, but good. I'm glad to hear it.

But do you agree that many criminals just become more efficient and successful criminals after what they've learned in jail?
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[User Picture]From: geminiwench
2008-06-27 11:38 pm (UTC)
I think you have a different idea of Maximum Security Prison than what actually is occurring in the U.S., Random.

When you think of nice gyms with stair machines and cable, you are thinking of minimum and SOME medium security prisons. Ie: white collar crimes involving money and no violence and things like drug possession go to these prisons. Violent criminals usually stay in Max security for their whole stay... and it is CERTAINLY not like that there. Firstly, most Prisons are now run privately, which means they are for-profit and they for making as MUCH profit as possible. Food that keeps them alive and not sick, a place to stretch full-length and sleep at night does not equal a bed and breakfast. Many prisons are running at 2x capacity, human rights organizations have uncovered reports of 21% of inmates being raped and 40% of all prison populations being infected with Hepatitis C. Thats a lot of rape when you are only allowed an hour a day outside of your cell.

There was an Oregon prison who would strip inmates nude and they would have to earn their clothes back through good behavior. Humiliation is often used as a form of easy control and taking away their human rights does not sound like coasting with cable to me.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2008-06-27 11:44 pm (UTC)
*nod* That's a good point, but isn't rape often not considered a violent enough crime to be put in those prisons? Don't rapists often get placed in minimum security, vs. those people who have stabbed someone or shot someone?
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