Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

SCOTUS: Child Rapists are Protected from the Death Penalty

Posted by Ryan on June 25, 2008

The Supreme Court is getting out of control and the libs on the Court are certainly not making many friends lately.  What’s next I wonder?

In the wake of pronouncing that al Qaeda has more rights than Nazis did, and with 42 states having passed anti-Kelo laws, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that the death penalty is off-limits for child rapists, unless of course, the child’s death results.  I’ll let you guess who voted to uphold Louisiana’s law allowing the death penalty for child rapists in this blatant act of judicial legislation.

All the Eighth Amendment “cruel and unusual” banter from Justice Kennedy (alas, a Reagan appointee gone loopy), doesn’t really take into account the effects on the victim.  Here’s what Justice Alito had to say about this ruling in his dissent:

“[Alito] lament[ed] that the majority had ruled out executing someone for raping a child ‘no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be.’”

Maybe Justice Kennedy thought that the perp, Patrick Kennedy (no joke), was a relative or someone he knew.  Who knows?  Liberals on the court since the 1950s have seen the perps as the one’s potentially hurt by laws, not their victims so much.  I’m just waiting for the political branches of our government to assert themselves against the poorly devised judicial dictates from this court over the last few years. 

7 Responses to “SCOTUS: Child Rapists are Protected from the Death Penalty”

  1. Tim Weaver said

    Yeah. Show those child rapists were wrong by murdering them. That will teach everyone a lesson.

  2. rightonoz said

    Sorry, guys have to disagree.

    Firstly child rape (any rape for that matter) is disgusting, can ruin lives, everything you say and more, but state sanctioned murder as a punishment, I don’t agree with it under any circumstances (almost), but for a crime that does not result in a death is even more over the top than I can fathom.

    Sweeping statement time… Countless studies, one could say all (except a couple in death penalty states where the outcome of the sudy was known before it began) show that the death penaly has no positive effect in reducing crime rates, and when applied to a crime where death is not involved may be more likely to result in the perp killing the victim. After all you can only be executed once, and if you potentially can be executed for not killing the victim, why not reduce the number of witnesses.

    Now I know that many will say, but the consitution does not…

    While the consitution may be the cornerstone of US law it is not the only factor. Precedence does apply in the US from what I can see, though not to the extent of in westminster type democracies. Evolving standards do also apply. Seems to me, saying that if the consitution does not specifically forbid something then it is ok, surely one must argue that the Founding Fathers did not forsee every eventuality and did not attempt to set law to cover such.

    Of course, let’s not get into the number of acknowledged executions of innocent persons, the fact that a black is more likely to be executed than a white…. Apart from being a morally repugnant punishment (that your Pope opposes) there is just too much chance for error. I know… Only where there is no shadow of doubt, which is supposed to be the standard that applies today, but errors still happen.

    Sorry guys, but how can a civilised country be so adamant in it’s attempts to judicially murder it’s own citizens?

  3. Mike said

    “While the consitution may be the cornerstone of US law it is not the only factor.”

    Oz, that statement is correct when debating what law should be. When discussing a United States Supreme Court decision interpreting the U.S. Constitution however, the constitution is more than the only factor and certainly more than a mere factor. It is the “be all and end all” of the decision. What you say from a policy perspective is certainly reasonable, but like it or not, the Constitution is the cornerstone of U.S. law.

    As for Catholic teaching, take a look at the official Cathecism. Catholic teaching is not what you say it is. I say that as someone whose view on this issue are closer to yours than Ryan’s.

  4. Mike said

    And also, I call BS on the “studies” you cite. More importantly, I ask you to name the studies you referred to that were pre-determined.

  5. Chris said

    The Supreme Court is out of control with this ruling!

    Anthony “I want to be liked and accepted by the DC establishment” Kennedy claims that a death sentence for a child rapist is “Cruel and Unusual Punishment.” That child is an innocent victim and doing something like that to a child may not end their life, but it will kill their soul and they will never be the same again. Self-confidence will be harmed, that child will be needing psychological help well into adulthood and will never be able to feel totally comfortable or confident in a relationship where they should be loved. Is that “Cruel and Unusal Punishment” for the child? I darn well think it is! The perp is definitely getting off much easier in this situation. Shame on Kennedy, Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sutor!

    With an Obama presidency (heaven forbid) you may very well see a few retirements and a SWMNBN appointment and then we’ll be seeing much more of this.

  6. rightonoz said

    I made the comment on the Pope based on public statements and appeals by the current and previous Pope in a couple of US cases, one where the Catholic govenor of the state in questions said in effect that the previous Pope did not know what he was talking about. What the Church’s actual teachings are, I make no claim to knowing.

    On ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, this is where my comment on evolving standards comes in. When the founding fathers set the constitution it was based on norms at that time. This is when in England, someone could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, or even worse, sent to the colonies for life. Having rid themselves of the US colonies, they of course started sending criminals to Australia for some real ‘tough love’. Just as an aside, the greatest colonial architect in Australia was a guy who was sentenced to death for defaming a lord when the lord refused to pay for work done on his country home and the architect had the hide to say so in public. His sentence was commuted to life in the penal colony of Oz.

    At the same time in the US, you could be executed for, murder, horse stealing, a black man having consensual sex with a white woman (in some states), a black man raping a white woman… the list goes on. And of course, until the 1930’s it was not actually illegal to lynch a person in some states. Now in most cases states enacted laws to change the penalties. If the Supreme’s had not changed the interpretation and enforcement of the Consititution, would there still be segregation in Southern states?

    Now the UK has thankfully moved on in terms of what it considers reasonable punishment and abolished the death penalty as have all the other major Western nations (US excepted, where there seems to be a determination to expand it if anything.)

    The reality of abolishing death penalties, is that it can rarely be left to the public vote, as the ‘red neck’and religeous conservative factors in almost any country will ensure that such a vote could never pass. Sometimes govenments need to make law based on what is right, not what is a vote winner.

    Let me make it clear, I fully agree with Ryan’s and Chris’ comments on the effects on the victim, and MUCH more effort needs to be placed on supporting these victims and doing the utmost to minimise the long term effects. As a society, including here in Oz, I feel strongly that once we have sent the perp to jail, we leave the victim to recover as best they can. I just don’t agree with the vengeance mentality as a means to fix the problem. Does anyone know the effect on a child vicitm as they grow older of being told. it’s ok, ‘we killed the bastard for you. ‘Some might take solace, others might be even more damaged??.

    On the US, study’s I mentioned, let me go back and try to find them. I recall them from professional studies on criminal mentality some years back (no – not as a physcologist) Mike, if you’re calling BS in the one’s that show no poitive effect on reducing crime, there are more than enough US one’s for you to check out, in fact I understand one of your presidential candidates, while supporting the death penaly in this case did make mention of this fact.

  7. Mike said

    What I called BS on is the fact that there are legitimated studies pointing both ways. As a licensed attorney in two states, I was required to obtain an advanced degree which required an in-depth knowledge of American criminal law. In the course of earning that degree, I was exposed to well-reasoned studies that reached differing conclusions. You claimed that the only studies concluding that it was a deterrent were predetermined. BS is the only accurate response to that statement.

    It might surprise you that I actually share the Catholic Church’s position in capital punishment, that is it should only be used when absolutely necessary to protect the community from the person in question. As I read that standard (and practically speaking Catholics are given “wiggle room” in this regard), the only situation I currently see capital punishment as justified is something like the blind shiek where his orders and instructions can find their way back to Al Qaeda. And like you, I also recognize the need for killing in war situations.

    What I look for on this issue for honesty and good will on both sides. Too often, pro-capital punishment types seem to be trigger-happy to the point where Jean Vel Jean would be in trouble. On the flip side, no argument saying death is no deterrant is valid because capital punishment is not really applied here. The endless appeals drag the punishment out over decades. Some people are happy this is so, but when it comes to addressing deterrence, this reality makes a conclusion impossible.

    The thing about citing “studies” is that anyone can do it. I don’t doubt your sincerity on this, but citing “studies”, especially when claiming near-unanimity in the literature while doing so, coupled with the act of dismissing those contradicting one’s viewpoint as pre-determined is simply unpersuasive.

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