Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Loss for the Youngest Victims

The leftward-leaning Supreme Court of the United States today enacted a cruel and unusual punishment on victims of child rape.

Justices Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer struck down a Louisiana state law allowing the death penalty for rape of a child.
Justice Kennedy ... 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."
Apparently, we the people of the United States of America have evolved (devolved?) to such a point where our standards should permit an adult who knowingly and purposely violates a defenseless child should be allowed to live, no matter the extent of the crime or damage inflicted.
Justice Alito wrote a dissent lamenting that the majority had ruled out executing someone for raping a child "no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator's prior criminal record may be."
However, as all good liberals tend to be, the justices seemed more concerned for the rights of the convicted criminals than those of the innocent, defenseless victims. After all, as Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority, "sentencing someone to death for raping a child could have terrible, unintended consequences.

And speaking of cruel and unusual punishments, a Massachusetts state congressman (and defense attorney) recently vowed to further victimize the victims of child rape if his fellow lawmakers passed Jessica's Law, mandating stiffer penalties for child sex offenders.
"I'm gonna rip them apart," Fagan said of young victims during his testimony on the bill. "I'm going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they're 8 years old, they throw up; when they're 12 years old, they won't sleep; when they're 19 years old, they'll have nightmares and they'll never have a relationship with anybody."
Too many of these victims already experience those same repercussions from their ordeal, necessitating such stringent measures as Jessica's Law legislature and Louisiana's death penalty laws.

Unfortunately, today's Supreme Court ruling will also affect similar laws in Texas and other states:
"Because of the 5-4 decision, a criminal convicted of multiple brutal acts of child rape will be treated less severely than one who commits treason or espionage," said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. "While we will abide by the court's judgment, Texas will continue to seek the toughest penalties [for] the most barbaric child predators."

UPDATE: There is a very good discussion of the court's comments and decision on Lone Star Times.

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