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April 21, 2008

Missouri pols all calling for child rape to be a capital offense

As detailed in this two pieces from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, top political rivals share the belief that child rape should be a death penalty eligible offense:

Of course, the constitutionality of capital child rape is being contemplated by the Supreme Court right now in the Kennedy case.  And headlines like these might make it just a bit more likely that the Justices will not prevent from expanding the death penalty in this way.

Some recent related posts:

April 21, 2008 at 08:25 PM | Permalink

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» Missouri Can't Wait from Sex Crimes
While all of us wait to see if the Supreme Court will uphold the statute in Kennedy, Missouri is chomping at the bit to adopt a capital child rape statute:Emphasizing that the most heinous crimes deserve the harshest penalty, Gov. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 21, 2008 9:32:46 PM

Comments

Hmmmm....I think I want statutes authorizing the death penalty for economic crimes involving amounts that could potentially disrupt the economy (psychological impact on victims, right?) and for obstruction of justice by government officials in charge of sensitive materials important to national security (i.e., destroying tapes of CIA interrogations). I mean, if there's nothing different about death and I can justify it by the mere possibility of psychological harm, why aren't my pet crimes being considered? I think I'll write a letter.

The anti-sex offender pandering is approaching *literal* insanity. We have "serious" politicians advocating death for sex offenders, taking away halloween masks for sex offenders, surgical castrations for sex offenders, indefinite lifetime commitment, etc. Oh well; at least the runaway child pornography sentences are correcting the racial imbalances of the drug war.

People convicted of second-degree murder aren't being sentenced to death. Whatever one thinks of child rapists, I think I probably would have preferred rape to death when I was a prepubescent child. Of course, the weird incentives these new laws create are really perverse in that regard.

Posted by: Alec | Apr 21, 2008 9:08:14 PM

Yeah, I'd probably rather be raped than killed, too, but it's not obvious that's decisive. I'd rather be raped while in a coma than robbed while conscious; but we'd probably punish the coma-rapist a lot more severely. Punishment isn't just a function of harm. It's also a function of our gut-level, instinctive reactions to deviance.

A lot of people seem to believe that child rape is really repugnant, and child rapists are really bad people. Though I'm not sure I want to execute child molesters, it's hard to see why my gut reactions are more reliable than anyone else's, or how this argument could be about anything more objective than our competing instincts.

Posted by: matth | Apr 21, 2008 10:16:15 PM

I'd rather be raped while in a coma than robbed while conscious

Not me.

Posted by: | Apr 21, 2008 10:56:28 PM

I don't get the vehemence. I mean, at the end of the day, why would anyone care if Patrick Kennedy got executed? And I don't even support the death penalty for child molesters either.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 21, 2008 11:12:56 PM

"Hmmmm....I think I want statutes authorizing the death penalty for economic crimes involving amounts that could potentially disrupt the economy (psychological impact on victims, right?) and for obstruction of justice by government officials in charge of sensitive materials important to national security (i.e., destroying tapes of CIA interrogations)."

Well, OK, run for the legislature and try to get those statutes passed. That would be an appropriate place to debate them as a matter of policy, just as the Louisiana legislature did the child rape death penalty provision.

Posted by: Jay | Apr 21, 2008 11:42:28 PM

My point is that modern capital punishment jurisprudence has developed along the lines of "death is different."

But we're not just talking about capital punishment. Twenty years ago, in a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court of South Carolina rejected "voluntary" surgical castration as punishment in lieu of a thirty year sentence, holding that it was prohibited as mutilation and unconstitutional as a matter of state law. Today that sentence is authorized in California and Texas, and Louisiana has just passed a statute authorizing both surgical and chemical castration. Moreover these sentences are not being litigated because defendants are negotiating and waving them to escape life imprisonment, so there's no opportunity to determine their constitutionality.

Point is, by going down this road we're really opening the floodgates, because the reasoning that is used to justify (and uphold) these policies cannot be restricted to sex offenders. Registration and civil commitment can easily be expanded, as can residency restrictions and GPS monitoring. And I don't buy it for a minute that these legislators are actually weighing the pros and cons of these "reforms." They don't want to be perceived as being soft on sex offenders. We're witnessing the same phenomenon that got us in the drug war mess we're in, although the offenders are not remotely as sympathetic.

I think this will come back to bite us in the ass in a lot of ways. Between the security state and bending over backwards to let in evidence in the pornography cases the courts are ripping away at electronic privacy rights, we've already seen attempts to expand registries to people found by a civil court order to be liable for certain sex offenses, proposals to expand it to drug offenses, etc.

Posted by: Alec | Apr 22, 2008 1:14:17 AM

federalist: I don't get the vehemence. I mean, at the end of the day, why would anyone care if Patrick Kennedy got executed? And I don't even support the death penalty for child molesters either.

Ah, federalist, you never fail to disappoint & always succeed in outing yourself as a sociopath.

Oh, I don't know, maybe we care because we find it repellent that our government is killing our fellow citizens? Maybe because we don't wish to live in a country that can be compared to China, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq & Saudi Arabia in that our government kills us? Seeing a human rights abuse committed in our name kinda turns a lot of us off.

But obviously not bloodlusting sociopaths like you. I bet you'd even like to pull the trigger/inject the needle/flip the switch, wouldn't you?

Why can't you just keep yourself happy with your video games? Go play another round of Call of Duty or something.

Posted by: Sentencing Observer | Apr 22, 2008 9:34:39 AM

Federalist, I agree. Guess I'm also a "bloodlusting sociopath".

Posted by: Mory | Apr 22, 2008 9:47:18 AM

We care because Jesus would care!! "I was in prison and ye came unto me. As much as ye have done it unto the lease of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Jesus, around about 2000 years ago.

Posted by: John | Apr 22, 2008 10:05:15 AM

A sociopath? Simply because I support a punishment that has been imposed since time immemorial for heinous crimes. Is the sky blue on your planet?

Posted by: federalist | Apr 22, 2008 10:13:59 AM

No, Mr. Federalist, a sociopath becausem in your words, "would anyone care . . . ." The lack of care is pathological; the support for the death penalty is reasonable.

Posted by: John | Apr 22, 2008 10:46:58 AM

That's ridiculous, John. We only have 24 hrs a day---there's only so much one can really care about. The execution of Kennedy would not ruin my day.

You guys need to lighten up. In case you haven't heard, there's a war on.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 22, 2008 11:11:07 AM

"... why would anyone care ..."

Ignoring all the other reasonable arguments against capital punishment, perhaps this one might carry a little more impact for you federalist: because someday, somehow, it could be you. Innocent or guilty, it could be you. All someone would need to do would be to provide a faulty identification that linked you somewhere that kinda fits, but hey, there's no one else on the list and that's good enough.

And then all the people that currently think like you become your worst enemies - and the only ones 'qualified' to sit on your jury. Gives you warm fuzzies doesn't it?

Posted by: Christopher | Apr 22, 2008 4:40:46 PM

federalist wrote: "That's ridiculous, John. We only have 24 hrs a day---there's only so much one can really care about. The execution of Kennedy would not ruin my day."

Which is what makes you a terrible citizen (and human being) and the poster child for everything that is wrong with this nation. You don't care if Kennedy is executed because you are a killer. You make judgments that some people's lives have no value, just like any other murderer does. The difference is that you have no excuse.

federalist wrote: "You guys need to lighten up. In case you haven't heard, there's a war on."

No, there's an occupation following an unlawful act of aggression on.

John wrote: "The lack of care is pathological; the support for the death penalty is reasonable.

Support for the death penalty is not reasonable.

Posted by: DK | Apr 22, 2008 8:39:03 PM

Emilio Maldonado, 29 has committed murder in New York On January 9th, 2007. A trigger happy gun toting cowboy. He felt the need to carry a gun every where he went. How many New Yorker's are walking around with loaded, consealed weapons just because they can as Mr. Emilio Maldonado, states. I'm double Maldonado's age and have never owned a gun, or shot a gun or even murdered anyone. This is the society we are living in today folks. Any time someone walks the street with a loaded firearm they are looking for trouble. The Spokesperson for the Department of Corrections Linda Foglia says after only 2 years on the job Emilio Maldonado made the best possible decission he could taking into consideration no weapons was found and Chris Kenner was unarmed. And they will not press charges against the Correctional Officer. The Correction Officer lied under oath and The department of corrections gave Emilio maldonado a licence to carry a gun he was not trained on. Why?

Posted by: Emilio Maldonado | May 5, 2008 1:00:51 AM

The world is becoming more and more egoistic, and things aren’t getting any better. We keep looking for an answer in our egoism, our current situation, and this is pointless. Violence as a method of controlling violence is doomed to fail! I’m reading news stories everyday on how punishments are becoming more severe all the time. Violence is simply the stupidest means for correcting society, and only allows more and more dirt to fill it. The only way to save ourselves from any kind of violence is to rise above egoism, period.

Posted by: Rav Michael Laitman PhD | May 23, 2008 5:38:18 AM

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