Patrick Kennedy walked into the bedroom of his 8 year old daughter, and raped her so severely that the child required surgery. Richard Davis prostituted a 16 year old girl before getting her pregnant, then sexually abused the child they conceived- before spending nearing a year raping another child who was five at the time.
For their crimes, they faced a trial by their peers in which they were found guilty. They were given the max sentence allowed by the law of the state (Louisiana), the death penalty. Until yesterday, they were sitting rightfully on death row- the only two death row inmates in the United States sentenced to death for the crime of raping a child.
But the Supreme Court of the United States has said their sentences are beyond was is allowable- that child isn't bad enough to make the punishment fitting of the crime. That the death penalty should be saved for crimes that take a life- rather than just damaging the life to the most extreme extent. Oh- wait. Except for treason against the US. They still can kill you for that. Because giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the US is so much worse than raping your own child to the point that serious medical attention is needed.
source. Therefore the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."
It's not that I don't see treason as a serious crime- I do. But I also feel safe in knowing that our government is so inclined to prevent acts of treason from having any real impact (between 1952 and 2006 there were TWO cases of treason filed by the gov) that it's slim chances that anyone will succeed at bringing down the US. On the other hand, every day some pervert succeeds at destroying the innocence of a child. And it's hard to justify death for one that rarely happens, while refusing the same punishment on one that happens so often.
On the brighter side of things- it looks as if states are willing to fight for the will of the people and challenge the Subreme Court's asinine ruling, with many law makers vowing to continue writing laws that include the death penalty as a sentencing possibility.
Regardless of the intent of the state law makers, it seems that the idiots on the bench have just grown too far out of reach of the common person. Perhaps it's the lack of involvement with those who actually have been subject to the effects of childhood rape.
VIA CNN In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child," despite the horrendous nature of the crime.
Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called the ruling "incredibly absurd," "a clear abuse of judicial authority" and said officials will "evaluate ways to amend our statute to maintain death as a penalty for this horrific crime."
I recall talking to a victim at one point who had been so badly abused, who'd just suffered so much pain from the attacks themselves to the emotional strain it put on her years later that she'd just gotten to the point that she really felt she'd have been better off if she'd been killed than repeatedly raped by a family friend. She'd told me that at least in death, she knew she'd be able to finally have a peaceful night of sleep. To not wake up in a sweat with her heart pounding because she'd dreamed it happening all over again. That had she just been killed, she wouldn't find her self having flashbacks of her attacks years later while standing in line at a store. That death would have prevented her from having children, but it would be less painful than knowing that being repeatedly raped at a very young age had caused so much damage that she'd never be able to have kids. That at least if she'd been dead, she wouldn't be around now to know that her rapist is free right now.
When the crime is so horrific to the victims that some actually would have preferred death- -then firmly believe that death is a fitting punishment for those that committed these atrocities.
Oklahoma officials said they, too, weren't ready to give up, and would "certainly look at what options we have," state senator Jay Paul Gumm said. "I think the people of Oklahoma have spoken loudly that this is one of the most heinous of crimes."
Even White House hopefuls joined the fray. Republican John McCain called the ruling "an assault on law enforcement's efforts to punish these heinous felons for the most despicable crime." Democrat Barack Obama said there should be no blanket prohibition of the death penalty for the rape of children if states want to apply it in those cases.
Forty-four states prohibit the death penalty for any kind of rape, and at least four states besides Louisiana permit it for child rape -- Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. There's disagreement over the status of a Georgia law permitting execution for child rape, although Justice Kennedy said in his ruling that it was still in effect.
Following the ruling, all become unconstitutional.
One point that always bothers me is that people blame the child victims- the comment was made more than once in the last day that this saves the children from having to be under the burden of having someones sentence of death in their hands.
I call bullshit on that. The very people making that statement are the very same people who are giving credit to the predators out there that use the 'if you tell, your family will be destroyed and it'll be your fault that I go to jail' line. Do not for a minute put this on victims, the life or death or any punishment that a child rapist is facing has nothing to do with the victim. The rapist has his sentence, regardless of what it is, on his own head. By merely suggesting that the burden is unduly put on the victim, gives false credit to the blame game that to many predators use to silence their victims to begin with. It's about damn time that we knock this use of undue guilt away from the victims, and back to the rapist and child molesters who are truly the ones responsible for their current state of conviction. It's bad enough that the perverts tell the victims that it's their fault, do we really need people backing up that claim by making irresponsible statements?
"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."