The Court has released the opinion in Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343), on whether the Eighth Amendment prohibits states from imposing the death penalty for child rape, and, if not, whether Louisiana’s statute fails to narrow the class of offenders eligible for the death penalty. The Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for the crime of raping a child, when the victim does not die and death was not intended.The vote was 5 – 4 and the decision was witten by Justice Kennedy. Dissenting were Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia.
Here is a link to the decision: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/07-343.pdf.
TAASA Statment on the Kennedy v. Louisiana Decision
“The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) supports the Supreme Court’s decision, released this morning to overturn the death penalty for child sexual assault cases. Victim advocates have long been concerned that the death penalty for child sexual assault cases could backfire and result in fewer convictions of sex offenders. The issue of child sexual abuse is complex. Most child sexual abuse victims are abused by a family member or close family friend. The reality is that child victims and their families don’t want to be responsible for sending a grandparent, cousin or long time family friend to death row. “Today we join sexual assault coalitions across the country in applauding the Supreme Court’s step toward ensuring that prosecutions of child sexual assault across our nation remain victim-centered and child-friendly in their approach. Our work, however, is not yet complete. We remain dedicated to finding effective ways to increase reporting rates, support victims, and keep Texas communities and children safe.”
The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) is the statewide organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas. A non-profit educational and advocacy organization based in Austin, TAASA member agencies comprise a statewide network of more than 80 crisis centers that serve rural as well as metropolitan areas. Founded in 1982, the agency has a strong record of success in community education, youth outreach, law enforcement training, legislative advocacy, and curricula and materials development. Additional information about TAASA can be found at www.taasa.org