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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?


sldc sldc 9 years
I think far more child rapists get out of jail than get even life in prison (much less often they are up for the death penalty). I think that is a bigger issue here. Child rape does not refer to statutory rape cases. Have you ever checked out the sex offender lists at the state sites online? Sure some were obviously statutory cases where the boy was a couple years older, but plenty more are far more disturbing. Society needs to stop encouraging the fetishism of children and teens. Sex with those too young to even legally make decisions is really about power and compensating for one's own serious inadequacies.
remedios remedios 9 years
Just to throw my two cents in: 1. It's irreversable. 2. Our judicial system is horribly flawed. It is disproportionately more harsh to minorities and the poor. 3. It is not a successful deterrent. 4. It is not a solution to heal families. The pain will still exist. Mediation has a higher success rate at this providing some help for families. 5. It is more expensive than life in prison (I believe that is because we give them every last bit of options to appeal because we need to make absolutely certain that only the guilty are killed). 6. It is immoral. 7. Juries, in spite of being told to only convict when they believe the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, make mistakes. 8. In spite of the right to an attorney even if one cannot afford it, that is apparently not a right to effective counsel. Judges have allowed guilty verdicts to stand even when the defense attorney slept through a good portion of the case, or was an abysmal advocate. That's it for now.
laurelm laurelm 9 years
im against the death penalty in general, as I believe it is wrong to kill another human being, however, I am human and when some sick rapist killer is executed, I do not lose sleep over it but the death penalty when not involving the death of another human being(s) is a slippery slope I do not want to see the US go down
stephley stephley 9 years
Is it better then, to attack helpless old people? Or maybe handicapped people? Loosen up the rules on the death penalty, and we're going to become the kind of barbaric society we claim we despise.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
Fact, most child abusers are NEVER rehabilitated - the desire to do so again is always there - no matter what they tell you. Get an honest one to talk to you and they'll admit it. Fact - babies and children are literally TORN UP by being raped. These children never have a chance - and they never truly get over it. It is something they will live with all of their lives. Someone who messes with kids is the lowest of the low. Why waste tax money on keeping them incarcerated for the rest of their lives? This country has gone soft on criminals - most think (rightly so) that a good lawyer can get them off with either a sob story on how bad their childhood was or a paperwork mistake. Make the laws and punishment tougher and maybe criminals will start to think twice - especially knowing they have a very real chance at getting the death penalty.
dmpls83 dmpls83 9 years
i think that anyone that intentionally harms a child deserves no less.. :mob:
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I would also like to point out that the death penalty is a deterrant for most crimes that carry the penalty. The problem is we don't know how many crimes, because they weren't committed. My reasoning to this is: The person who is put to death will not ever kill/rape/whatever again.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
No I don't.... Certainly not for rapists or molestors and while i'm thinking about it castration should be another option. I would say that the rape of any child is cruel and sick.One less depraved child molester in this world works for me.However it's done makes no difference.
liciababe liciababe 9 years
I think that the parents should be left in the room with the perp and allowed to administer their own justice
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
Being a surviving victim of childhood sexual abuse (and also raped twice at the age of 20), I still don't think killing the abuser is the way to go. They do not cease to be human, they are humans with some serious issues and I feel sorry for them. I think they need help, just as much as the victims do to heal from their attack(s). Some can't (or don't want to) be helped, but I have no problem putting them in prison for life. If we have to use some of the empty desert and tundra land that we have to build more maximum security prisons so be it, I'd rather the money be spent to do that than some of the other places our money is going. Plus I'd rather give a person a chance at life than to take their life away from them.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I just read this in my Newsweek! Wow. Yeah, I just dont know how I feel about this, rape is just so repulsive, period. Universally I am opposed to the death penalty, however. :?
ruthieroo ruthieroo 9 years
Rat Bastards who rape a child deserve to die. In my opinion if a person rapes a child they have effectively murdered her/his childhood. Stolen, then killed the innocence that child has the right to enjoy. So why should he/she continue to have even the briefest of life's joys? As for death penalty appeals, perhaps we should go old school and hang them from a tree. Maybe that would serve as a deterrent.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Nyar, I do like your option. Colleninator, Lilkimbo, Dave, And Likitysplit you were so perfect on this. Thank goodness you were here. I couldn't have said anything better. And Piper! And Mondaymoos!
piper23 piper23 9 years
Matthew Shepard's parents are incredible people.
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
Berlin - There was recently a case in California where a man spent 25 years in prison for a murder that he didn't commit. He was released not too long ago (a few weeks ago, I believe). If you ask me, that kind of margin for error is too big to commit to a system where someone can lose their life even if they are innocent. Also, when it comes to the death penalty, I think one of the most...interesting cases, ever, was that of Matthew Shepard's murderers. His parents actually asked the court NOT to give them the death penalty because there had already been too much death. Personally, I'm with them. Killing more people doesn't take away the pain of the life or lives lost, and it solves nothing.
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
hypnotic took the words right out of my mouth with his first comment. We spend more money on the appeals process for death sentences than we do for keeping someone in prison for life, so there goes that argument. Other than that, what does the death penalty solve? Nothing. Nor is it a strong deterrent for crime. Life in prison? Absolutely. Death penalty? No.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
I'm not too much in favor of the death penalty...never understood the ideology of 'you kill one of us and we'll kill you back' as justification. I actually just recently saw a verdict where the accused got the death penalty, and the victims' family actually said that it wasn't fair and that they did not get in it wasn't harsh ENOUGH! He explained further how he wanted to brutally murder him himself. There we have it, poetic justice at it's brightest. I am pro death penalty in extreme cases, but I am certainly for it in cases of child rape. There is an eduring victim, and most murders happen in the heat of passion and aren't really planned that well to were you must fear that you'll be the next target of this mass killer. They usually will stop (except in extreme cases mind you) after the first kill. However child rapists are serial rapists, that will usually abuse the child for a long period of time and when finished will move on to the next. It's almost a sickness and not likely stopped. So instead of filling the prisons with them (and they are usually badly beaten in there b/c other inmates just don't stand for that sort of behavior) I say push the death penalty. Child rapists aren't murderers, and I think the death penalty in their case would be more of a deterrent than in any other crime.
Colleeninator Colleeninator 9 years
Who's to say that we aren't all passionate about those topics as well? I personally am incredibly disappointed with our education systems, early childhood development programs, etc., but it's hard to find specific people to blame for those issues, which is what people really like to do. The reason you're seeing so much anger towards child molestation and none towards shortcomings in terms of raising our children is that you're reading responses to a poll about.... the death penalty for child rapists. Also, there are plenty of people that don't realize exactly how poor our educational systems are, not everyone understands the effects that explicit images and messages have on children. Rape isn't a hard concept to wrap your head around, and the proposed solutions are rather simpler than those for education or keeping children from absorbing negative messages from advertising.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
A side issue and off the topic but never the less a point that needs to be made. After reading many comments here it is clear that there is a common devotion that lives within all of us whether we have children or not to protect our innocent. I think the only thing that leaves me mystified though is how many can find enough passion with in an instants notice of hearing that a child has been sexually violated to extinguish a human life. However, when it comes to education, after school programs, early child hood development the very necessities that hundreds of thousands of children are lacking each year we are as absent as the day is long. Where is our passion for our children here? Where is the blood thirsty vengeance towards those who withhold these opportunities from the very seeds of our future? Where is our outrage when we know that our children are being exposed to thousands of violent and sexual images and messages each and every day? Where? If you have enough passion in you to extinguish a human life for violating a child than you have enough passion in you to protect them at every level. I look forward to seeing things change across the country.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
I don't believe in the death penalty at all. And my understanding of the legal system, albeit very basic, is that every sentence is done case by case.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
It should be taken case-by-case.
Colleeninator Colleeninator 9 years
I am very much FOR the death penalty. Of course, I agree with what many other people here have said so far, that there are cases when the death penalty for rape would be ridiculous. For instance, one of my cousins was convicted of statutory rape because a girl lied to him (he did not assume, she flat out told him the wrong number) about her age, her parents found out, got pissed off, and pushed her to testify against him. He spent six months in prison because of that (so yes, abstinence would have worked out a lot better in that case). I would not want someone to be executed for something so silly as THAT. However, I, personally, believe the brutal rape of a child deserves the death penalty and worse. Again, the issue of being sure that the person in question actually committed the crime pops up. What say we just don't use the death penalty unless we're positive? Much of the time, there's no real doubt, so fry the bastards, I say. I believe that in most cases, rapists aren't really too busy worrying about the consequences of their actions. Of course, there are exceptions, but I believe they are in the minority. I don't really think that child-rapists expect to be caught one way or another. Another thing to consider is that many child-molesters are repeat offenders, returning to the same children. If they killed their victims, they wouldn't be able to victimize them anymore! And to the people that say that it's not our right to decide who can live or not, I say this: It's always been my belief that when a person harms another person(rape, murder, aggravated assault, etc.), they cease to be human, and have given up their right to live and be treated as a human. I don't think of the death penalty as a deterrent, I think of it as a way to remove scum from the face of the planet. Sorry for the ranting, I have a very angry sense of justice. Can you tell I'm from Texas?
stephley stephley 9 years
I'm against the death penalty and even trying to look at this pragmatically, can't agree with it even in the case of an attack on a child. I think it would make it more likely the child would be murdered. The death penalty hasn't served justice well in this country when you consider the racial discrepancies in such sentencing, and expanding its boundries would only allow more opportunity for abuse.
vasanta vasanta 9 years
i think capital punishment is wrong; take that off the table. but the penalty for child rape could be the same as for murder, in my opinion.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I am against the death penalty, so once again, I agree with hypnoticmix.
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