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Is Death Penalty For Child Rape Cruel and Unusual?

For the first time in 30 years, the US Supreme Court will consider the legality of imposing the death penalty in nonmurder cases.

Tomorrow the Court will hear arguments on whether the crime of raping a child warrants execution. The case involves a man sentenced to death for raping his 8-year-old step-daughter. Currently, all executions in the US are on hold, awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court on another case involving lethal injections.

The Court, which meets between October and July, has already considered big issues like guns and abortion in jail this session.

Is the death penalty an extreme sentence in the case of child rape? And putting aside the defendant's constitutional rights, if the punishment is the same, doesn't a rapist have an incentive to kill the child victim, who is also the major witness to the crime?

Should the Supreme Court strike down execution in the case of child rape? Should the death penalty be used in nonmurder cases?


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