I'm sure you've all read the news today regarding the US Supreme Court's 5 to 4 ruling that when it comes to child rape, sentencing the death penalty is unconstitutional. Just to brush up on your history, the Court struck down a law allowing the death penalty in cases of adult rape way back in 1977, but five states still allow execution when a child rape had been committed. Says the New York Times:
"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."
"Justice Kennedy, while in no way minimizing the heinous nature of child rape, wrote that executing someone for that crime, assuming that the victim was not killed, violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, which draws its meaning from 'the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.'"
Okay, there's a fair argument.
"But, as Chief Justice Roberts observed when Kennedy v. Louisiana was argued on April 16: 'This is quite different. It is focused on the nature of the offense.' Indeed, a theme that ran through the argument was that, while the death penalty is a punishment like no other, the rape of a child is a crime like no other."
Exactly. Now don't get me wrong, I am no big advocate of the death penalty. But I think I can understand where the dissenters on this issue are coming from. Personally, if I was the Queen of the Universe or whatever (luckily for all of us, this is not the case), two pieces of societal scum would undeniably be candidates for cruel and unusual punishment: child molesters and those who abuse helpless animals. But I would be a little more creative about it. For example, in one of my sickest revenge dreams, I would "fight" Warren Jeffs and Michael Vick and sell tickets to the event. Um, I have some alternate versions of this fantasy as well, but I digress...
I'm only half kidding, but I'm curious to know where you stand on the issue. Are we too easy on certain criminals?