Louisiana sentenced the 43-year-old Patrick Kennedy to death for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to review the case and decide whether a state can execute someone convicted of raping a child.
The United States constitution bans “cruel and unusual punishment.” In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitution barred execution for the rape of a 16-year-old girl, referring to such an execution as “grossly disproportionate and excessive punishment” for that crime. However, Louisiana’s court apparently views child rape as a much more heinous crime than the rape of a 16-year-old.
I think we all view child rape as an especially horrible form of rape. I see it as more heinous than even most murders.
Federal Law provides for the death penalty for many homicide-related crimes, as well as espionage, treason, and trafficking large quantities of drugs. If the government will execute people for murder, treason, drug trafficking and espionage, then it must allow for the execution of people for child rape to remain consistent.
However, I question the use of the death penalty at all.
I support the defensive use of homicide to protect innocent people. However, I do not want to cause excess harm to violent criminals. If we have already arrested and detained them, then we can just lock them in prison rather than execute them.
I mainly fear the use of the death penalty because of the inability to rectify its misuse. Jails and prisons contain many falsely convicted criminals. For example, DNA regularly exonerates many convicted criminals, including murderers and rapists. We can release these falsely convicted people from prison, but we cannot revive executed people. In my opinion, any slight benefit gained from executing violent criminals, instead of just imprisoning them, does not make up for the execution of falsely convicted people.
Also, I have heard that the death penalty usually ends up financially costing more because of all the expensive judicial appeals involved.
I want to note that I have no interest in punishing anyone. I see vengeance as a fool’s goal. I want offensively violent behavior outlawed to protect innocent people not to punish guilty people. I want murders, rapists, and other violent criminals stopped and incarcerated to protect innocent people not to punish the criminals.
What do you think?