1. Welcome to CowboysZone!  Join us!  Come on!  You know you want to!

Capital Punishment for Rape?

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by ConcordCowboy, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

    12,747 Messages
    2 Likes Received
    The Supreme Penalty for Rape

    We are witnessing either a burgeoning new trend for executing rapists—or the last gasps of capital punishment.

    [IMG]


    This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case about whether—for the first time in decades—a criminal can be executed for a crime that isn't murder. Patrick Kennedy was convicted in 2004 for the rape of a child, his 8-year-old stepdaughter, and the state of Louisiana contends that his crime is tantamount to murder and worthy of death. Nobody in this country has actually been executed for anything other than murder since 1964, although five states, including Louisiana, have laws on their books permitting capital punishment for the rape of young children. Several others are considering broadening their laws to do the same. So the court must determine, in Kennedy v. Louisiana, whether the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment bars the execution of someone who didn't commit a murder, but did violate a young child.

    Capital punishment in America has been in a slow decline for years, with "slow" being the key word. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, which compiles national statistics on capital punishment, the number of executions has dropped steadily since 1998, hitting a 10-year low of 53 in 2006. Confidence in the death penalty has also dipped slightly: a Gallup poll taken in 2006 showed that while two thirds of Americans endorsed capital punishment for murderers, given the choice between the death penalty and a life sentence without parole, slightly more preferred life in prison, for the first time in decades. This dip has been attributed to a number of factors: the reported 127 death-row exonerations now logged by the DPIC, books by the likes of John Grisham and pervasive evidence that racism still taints the capital-sentencing system. Still, public opinion remains in favor of the death penalty, at least for murder.

    All the statistics, polls and trends I've just cited would be utterly irrelevant to any legal discussion of whether a child rapist can be executed were it not for the odd constitutional test that weighs "cruel and unusual" punishment against "evolving standards of decency." This is an exercise in molar-grinding frustration for members of the Supreme Court devoted to adhering to the Constitution's original text. When the court ended the death penalty for mentally disabled offenders in 2002 and for those who were minors at the time of their crimes in 2005, it did so via an elaborate interpretive dance that required putting one finger on the pulse of foreign courts and the other into the wind of U.S. public opinion. If you're not a fan of public hangings, the notion that standards of cruelty can "evolve" has its appeal. But the new fight over child rapists suggests that attempts to measure the shifting winds of public opinion often reveal more about who's doing the measuring than about what's being measured.

    The Supreme Court tackled the death penalty with regard to the rape of a 16-year-old in 1977 in Coker v. Georgia, and prohibited execution for the rape of an "adult." The majority found that "the death penalty, which is unique in its severity, is an excessive penalty for the rapist who, as such, does not take human life." But Louisiana contends that child rape is different from adult rape, and its Supreme Court, in upholding Kennedy's execution, wrote that "if the court is going to exercise its independent judgment to validate the death penalty for any non-homicide crime, it is going to be child rape."

    Kennedy's lawyers measure national discomfort with executing child rapists by counting to two: the number of people on death row for nonhomicide offenses. They also count to zero: the number of criminals executed for rape since 1964. For its part, the state of Louisiana argues in its brief that public sentiment is tilting its way: "outrage" over the sexual violation of children is rising, and the enactment of "Megan's Laws" reflects a punitive new approach to child rapists. "The rape of a child under twelve is a crime like no other," the Louisiana brief notes, because it results in devastating implications that last a lifetime. Louisiana also points out that state legislatures are trending toward making certain nonhomicide offenses a capital crime, with 38 percent of death-penalty states now punishing such crimes with the death penalty. This all puts the high court in the unenviable position of having to measure whether the widespread public support for the death penalty is somehow canceled out by the slight decline in that support, which must in turn be weighed against efforts in some states to execute a broader range of defendants. Depending on how you look at it, we are witnessing either a burgeoning new trend for executing rapists—or the last gasps of capital punishment.

    The problem with measuring "evolving standards of decency" is that they tend to evolve and devolve in numerous directions at the same time. Kennedy's lawyers are right about the broad U.S. distaste for executing nonmurderers. But Louisiana is also right that the trend is shifting toward extending the types of crimes eligible for the death penalty. Americans generally support capital punishment but still worry that it's being applied unfairly. They want the option of capital punishment, but seemingly wish to exercise it only a few dozen times per year. For the high court, it's a towering challenge: distilling all these trends and countertrends into some broad constitutional rule—for a public that increasingly seems to like the idea of capital punishment more than the reality of it.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/131773
  2. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

    75,754 Messages
    2,054 Likes Received
    I disagree with the state and do not think this man should be put to death. I do believe in the death penalty in the most extreme cases and while this is a horrible crime and one that needs to see this man locked up for a long time I just do not see this as justice in putting him to death.
  3. Rackat

    Rackat Active Member

    2,134 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    I am a proponent of the death penalty. Other than murder, sexual molestation/rape of a child is the only crime I would consider death penalty worthy.
  4. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

    27,476 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    I agree with the state. The law is on the books and it is a just law. Anyone who would do this is not fit for society and can not be turned loose again. Also, I am not for housing the guy for the rest of his natural life and paying for him to have a roof and and three meals everyday forever.

    Anyone who rapes a child should be taken out.
  5. dargonking999

    dargonking999 DKRandom

    11,793 Messages
    172 Likes Received
    I believe that violation of a child should be allowed to have a death sentence. Violation of a child is wrong on more levels than we can even begin to wrap our minds around. Someone must show that child molestation cannot be tolerated at all.
  6. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

    28,177 Messages
    1,212 Likes Received
    i have to follow along this line. if you ruin the life of a child willingly, you should never be given that opportunity to do it again. *ever*. lock 'em up forever? why? end result the same just a lot more expensive to house/feed some loser for 50 years.
  7. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

    41,437 Messages
    1,457 Likes Received
    Study after study has shown that child molesters have around a 85% repeat rate. KILL THEM. That way no INNOCENT child suffers from a repeat offender.
  8. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

    60,378 Messages
    3,636 Likes Received
    I believe that raping a child could be punished by the death penalty. However the caveat being rape and just touching.

    I don't know how that state differentiates between the two but I could see many pushing a touching incident into rape.

    So if the person raped a child, whether that be actually intercourse (including anal) or oral...then yes I have no problem with it.

    There also has to be something in the guidelines that does not send a man to death for the person being under 18 but consensual sex. In other words a 17 year old having sex with a man under her own volition and him getting the death penalty because the parents find out.

    So by and large I agree with it, with a few caveats.
  9. vta

    vta The Proletariat

    8,746 Messages
    5 Likes Received
    Reading this, on the heels of reading that the U.S. is in the top 5 of executions worldwide, I feel the contradiction of my own opinions. A number of questions arise in defense of my feelings about it why I agree with the state.

    Part of me say's, let's be frank; this guy, and mistakes like him, is a broken appliance. What do we do with a broken appliance? Keep it around and make regular payments to maintain it, or do we recognize it's utter uselessness and get rid of it?

    Why do the right's of a sub-human criminal get elevated the moment they turn someone else's life inside out? Why is it that independent organizations have to come to the aid of the victim's, while the government tends to the criminal and insures his right's are safeguarded?

    In the end what is the point of this man's life? How will the rest of that girls life play out? How's her mom? Her grandmother? Her cousins? Her classmates? The network of people that she's involved with, now that she's been victimized for one low-life's petty wants?

    Too many questions to overcome with a simple answer.
  10. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

    22,612 Messages
    2,002 Likes Received
  11. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

    75,754 Messages
    2,054 Likes Received
  12. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

    27,476 Messages
    0 Likes Received
  13. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

    49,280 Messages
    3,596 Likes Received
    8-year-old stepdaughter?

    Fry this guy. No question about it.
  14. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

    75,754 Messages
    2,054 Likes Received
  15. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

    27,476 Messages
    0 Likes Received
  16. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

    75,754 Messages
    2,054 Likes Received
  17. vta

    vta The Proletariat

    8,746 Messages
    5 Likes Received
  18. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

    60,378 Messages
    3,636 Likes Received
  19. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

    27,476 Messages
    0 Likes Received
  20. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

    75,754 Messages
    2,054 Likes Received

Share This Page