Wednesday, June 25, 2008

supreme court reserves death penalty for murder

The Supreme Court ruled today that the death penalty is not allowed for child rape cases, meaning that the only crime left that is subject to capital punishment is murder.

As we predicted over two years ago, Anthony Kennedy has become the new swing vote on the court and he decided this 5-4 case.

Is the death penalty on the way out?
Well, I think it's a tough call because support for the death penalty nationwide in the past 10 years has actually been going down. But child rape is such a horrendous crime and all of us have such a natural revulsion towards it that you're never going to get a lot of support for any sort of reduction in sentence.

But I think, given the fact that this is a Supreme Court that said no death penalty for murderers under 18, no death penalty for the mentally retarded, this decision is consistent with a certain restriction on the death penalty, which is reflected in the court but also in a kind of national change that's going on.

1 comment:

Big Tex said...

Given our track record with wrongful convictions in this state, I think it's a good thing whenever the death penalty is being done away with, but particularly in a case like rape (child or otherwise) where the possibility of wrongful conviction is higher. But even putting the possibility of wrongful convictions aside, it's not the rightful business of government at any level to kill people in the absence of a clear and present danger to human life. A convicted criminal who has been locked up does not constitute a danger to human life because they're in jail, so there is no need to kill them and thus no legitimate justification for doing so.