Child Rape and the Death Penalty

Best read of the day so far....Guest Bloggers John J. Donohue III and Daniel Schuker at Balkanization, Dodging the Death Penalty Bullet for Child Rape, about why the Kennedy v. LA decision, despite it's two factual errors, was the right decision.

I hope someone sends it to the Obama campaign.

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    Really interesting part of the article (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by scribe on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:56:27 AM EST
    and the background linked in, was the almost perfect unanimity of racial breakdowns in executions for rape:  where there were black defendants and white victims, the defendant was executed.

    Also, in the military application of the death penalty (pre 1964)- black rape defendants were
    executed while white defendants convicted of murder (even multiple murders) were not.

    But, of course, the blogs lie.  We all know that.

    Short Circuit aka Head Exploding (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:05:52 PM EST
    For Obama, who has talked about the unfair racial discrepancy in US executions.

    As much as I support the DP (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:15:38 PM EST
    in appropriate situations, I don't think it's appropriate in any situation that isn't a sentence for murder.

    The (none / 0) (#8)
    by Claw on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:52:49 PM EST
    Existence of the Innocence Project(s) and the growing number of exonerees makes supporting the death penalty problematic.  If you don't think we've executed innocent people, you're kidding yourself.  It's very hard to obtain exoneration.  The fact that the Innocence Projects have been able to do so with such frequency is a chilling reminder of our country's indifference to human life.
    Thank you (not being snarky) for recognizing that child rape should under no circumstances be a death-eligible offense.  

    This thread is about (none / 0) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:25:46 PM EST
    the DP specifically for child rape so I won't go into the DP as a whole except to say I don't kid myself at all. I am sure innocents have been executed. However, the number of innocents who have been murdered by un-executed murderers is much, much greater.

    Less innocents murdered - regardless of who does the murdering - is better, in my book.

    Not a particularly popular position to take here on TL, as I've learned over the years...


    In my book (none / 0) (#10)
    by Claw on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:59:26 PM EST
    Any innocents being murdered by the state is an argument against the DP.  I wasn't trying to highjack the thread, though.  Child rape, while an atrocious crime, is no reason to kill someone.  My point was that the state should not engage in murder at all.  
    One should remember that child rape elicits the same kind of fury from jurors as does any kind of child molestation.  The burden of proof is shifted from the prosecution to the defendant.  He/She must prove innocence.  This leads to wrongful conviction and, were the DP available, it would be liberally administered.  It would also be used to frighten defendants into cutting deals to save their lives.

    I'm generally opposed to the death penalty (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by SoCalLiberal on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:44:05 PM EST
    So, no I do not support extending it to child rape.  Plus, I worry about how child rape is defined.  I mean if some 18 year old diddles a 16 year old, should he face the death penalty if convicted for statutory rape?  And don't think I'm being extreme here, it's happenned many times before, just look at Genarlow Wilson.  Mark Foley is a perv but if he banged any of those House Pages, I don't think it should even be a crime, let alone one punishable by capital offense.

    So if Foley had sex with a 15 year old page (none / 0) (#11)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 04:02:11 PM EST
    you don't think that should be a crime?

    I am generally opposed to the death penalty too. (none / 0) (#13)
    by hairspray on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 06:10:35 PM EST
    There are some crimes so heineous that a DP is warranted IMHO.  However, too many people are given death sentences because of where they live, news paper reports inflaming the public, what color they are, etc., etc. Circumstancial evidence should NEVER elicit a death penalty. Without ironclad physical evidence there should NEVER be a death sentence. Now with child rape of little children, I can't even speak about what I have seen and read on that topic, it is way too painful. I know Obama has little girls and probably is emotionally tied to this issues, I'll give him this one.

    It's comments like these (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 06:57:11 PM EST
    that affirm my recent middle-aged realizations that I am not as well-aligned with the political left as I had thought previously.

    Mark Foley is a perv but if he banged any of those House Pages, I don't think it should even be a crime, let alone one punishable by capital offense.

    I long for the day (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CDN Ctzn on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:47:50 PM EST
    when the USA will join the rest of the civilized world and the archaic Death Penalty will become moot!

    Make sure it's not you JM (none / 0) (#1)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:51:35 AM EST
    because remember, Michelle Obama claims that "blogs lie".

    It is poor judgement (none / 0) (#6)
    by tlkextra on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:42:47 PM EST
    to consider invoking the death penalty to any crime that does not involve murder.  Otherwise, it is only an encouragement to the criminal to silence a victim permanently.


    By the same token (none / 0) (#7)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:50:19 PM EST

    By the same token if the maximum penalty is life in the slammer, that any crime that carries a life sentence means that there is "an encouragement to the criminal to silence a victim permanently."  

    I disagree with their use of inconvenience (none / 0) (#12)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 04:09:01 PM EST
    as a motive to not institute the death penalty for child rape. They say over and over how deciding which 100 of the child rapists will be executed is simply too expensive.

    Pardon me, but if I'm a DA and I get a case where a child has been raped, I'm not going to tell the parents that it's simply too much work to read the file and decide the level of punishment I'll seek. Knowing the facts of the case and determining the length of incarceration to seek is an inherent part of the DA's office, so deciding whether or not to seek death should not add any undue investigation into the case. As for which ones get executed, that's up to the juries to decide.

    The article is also misleading in that it fails to mention what % of murders are deemed to be pre-meditated, malice killings. You don't get a capital charge if you kill someone running a stop sign.

    That's why their argument is so weak. They act as if it's major work determining the brutality of the crime.