Just what constitutes cruel and unusual? I suppose, it depends on who you ask these days.
Promoting a 16-year-old for prostitution in 1996- an example of cruel and unusual, getting that 16 year old pregnant, and then sexually abusing the child when he's four years old- even more 'cruel and unusual'. Moving on to repeatedly rape a five year old girl for nearly a year- let's just say now that this man is in line with the worst of the worst. And for his crimes, Louisiana jurors sentenced him to death in line with a state law that allows them to do so.
But, that's wasn't the end of Richard Davis, formerly of Ohio. No, he appealed the sentence calling IT 'cruel and unusual' punishment for his crimes. The man that sexually abused children, including his own, and who cried during the trial had the gull to think that the death penalty was 'unfair'. Even worse- an appeal court agreed with him today.
In another appeal dealing with child rapists, LA Justice Jeffrey Victory wrote,
"Our state Legislature and this court have determined this category of aggravated rapist to be among those deserving of the death penalty, and, short of a first-degree murderer, we can think of no other non-homicide crime more deserving."
Victory wrote that the Louisiana law meets the U.S. Supreme Court test requiring an aggravating circumstance — in this case the age of the victim — to justify the death penalty.
There's more about that case, and the facts behind it here.
But, in this case- Richard L Davis seemly has won the right to be a repeat offender, the worst of the worst and we can thank judges for casting aside the sentence of the jury and imposing 'cruel and unusual' punishment on society by forcing the rest of us to allow this monster to continue to breath. A write up about that can be found via the New York Times.
“The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.
The court overturned a ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court, which had held that child rape is unique in the harm it inflicts not just upon the victim but on society and that, short of first-degree murder, no crime is more deserving of the death penalty.
Stop the ACLU has a reaction from the LA Governor, who seems to agree with the rest of us that the judges erred in this case.