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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Child Rape

The Supreme Court handed down a decision today that strikes down capital punishment for child rapists.
They did it despite warnings it would be ruled unconstitutional, with a deaf ear to objections by victim advocates that families would not report crimes if it meant a loved one could be executed or that offenders might kill victims who were the only witness to the crime

On Wednesday, a divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law, ruling the death penalty in child rape cases violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision.

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, a statewide nonprofit victim advocacy group representing 80 rape crisis centers, applauded the ruling.

"Most child sexual abuse victims are abused by a family member or close family friend," the group said in a statement. "The reality is that child victims and their families don't want to be responsible for sending a grandparent, cousin or long time family friend to death row."

Texas was one of at least five states that allowed the death penalty in some cases of child rape. The Texas law had allowed the death penalty for offenders twice convicted of raping children under 14.
I happen to agree with the decision, but not necessarily the reasoning given by the Court.

I have always been against the death penalty, in all but the most heinous crimes. For example, I would have thrown the switch on Tim McVeigh myself if they had offered me the chance, and Aldrich Ames should be executed immediately.

There are several points I would like to make.

1. Capital punishment is final.
There is no appeal after death. Whatever your religious beliefs, the fact is (unless you believe in reincarnation) that you only have one physical life on this earth.
2. Killing the criminal will not undo the crime.
Capital punishment is nothing more than cold revenge.
3. Capital punishment is not a deterrent.
That executions occur on a monthly basis is proof of this basic fact. Even in Iran, where homosexuals, adulterers, and apostates of Islam are hung or stoned to death... the threat of death is not enough to deter.

In the case of a child rapist, you would probably agree that these people are sick in the head. Somebody that is sick in the head and has an urge to do something like raping a child, is not going to think about the consequences when they are committing the act.
4. Executing a criminal costs more to the tax-payers than life imprisonment.
Yeah, it does. Much more. If your argument is "killem faster!" see the next point.
5. Since the year 2000, 44 death row inmates have been exonerated.
Exonerated, not given a lesser sentence. Since 1971, the number is 129.
All too often, ambitious prosecutors, lying/faulty witnesses, corrupt police, lazy and/or corrupt state forensic scientists, political judges, uneducated juries, and inept defense council land innocent people in prison.

Since the Innocence Project was started in 1992, 216 defendants previously convicted of serious crimes have been exonerated on DNA evidence, including death row inmates.
You can split hairs with me about individual cases all you want, but the fact is that as long as there is one innocent person on death row, and there are probably hundreds in the US, no true justice can exist.


The Innocence Project

If you want to read a book that explicitly illustrates the above points, check out The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham.



Blogger The Exterminator said...

I also agree with the result of the decision but not with the reasoning. I think proportionality is a very bad rationale.

I'm against the death penalty in all circumstances. I don't see how it's possible to draw a bright line between those who deserve execution and those who don't. Tim McVeigh: yes? How about Charlie Manson? Aldrich Ames: yes? How about the Rosenbergs, who -- whether guilty or not -- may not have gotten a completely fair trial? Are we able to codify every possible nuance and distinction between instances of murder, or kidnapping, or rape, or treason?

6/27/2008 12:50 AM  
Blogger Venjanz said...

Good points.

For me, it's mass-murders and traitors. I can easily draw the line within my own moral realm.

Ames was clearly guilty, so were Manson and McVeigh. Rosenberg's? It's been over 60 years, so who knows?

To sum up my view on the issue, I would support a moratorium or even a ban (even though the 14th Amendment specifically allows for capital punishment), but there are those who deserve the needle.

6/28/2008 5:40 AM  
Anonymous USpace said...

Child rapists don't deserve the mercy of Death Row and a state execution, they deserve Life in Prison without parole and special protections. This way the other inmates will have many chances to gang-rape the scum every day, and then torture the vermin to death when they are sick of him.
At least the Supremes finally got one right with the DC Gun Ban issue. Hopefully, knowing that more homes may have guns, more raping and home-invading monkeys will cease in this behavior or be blown away as they well deserve. The world will be MUCH better with more of this scum dead.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe feels
sorry for child rapists

when they are murdered
in cold blood by other thugs

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't KILL the raping monkeys

even if they prefer death
over life in prison

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
you may not defend yourself

guns are for criminals
just hope police show in time

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
prosecute citizens

when they kill home invaders
threatening their families

absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
women shouldn’t carry guns

their attackers and rapists
don’t deserve their brains blown out

Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
Child Rapists Deserve Violent Death in Prison
Help Halt Terrorism Today!


8/17/2008 2:41 AM  

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