Wednesday, June 25, 2008

 

Supreme Courts Rules on Kennedy v. Louisiana

The U.S. Supreme Court has released its opinion in Kennedy v. Louisiana, regarding the constitutionality of sentencing a person to death for the rape of a child in which no murder occurs. Patrick Kennedy is the first person in the country in the modern era of the death penalty to receive such a sentence.

The Court was considering whether the Eighth Amendment prohibits states from imposing a death sentence for child rape, and, if not, whether Louisiana's statute fails to narrow the class of offenders eligible for death.

In a 5 to 4 vote, the Court ruled that imposing a death sentence for the crime of child rape where the victim does not die nor was death intended is, in fact, unconstitutional. The decision was written by Justice Kennedy. Dissenting were Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, and Justice Scalia.

Read the full decision here.

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