TEXAS—-new execution date
Charles Hood has been given a new execution date of September 10; it
should be considered serious.
Obama disagrees with high court on child rape case
Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday he disagrees with the Supreme Court's
decision outlawing executions of people who rape children, a crime he said
states have the right to consider for capital punishment.
"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be
applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,"
Obama said at a news conference. "I think that the rape of a small child,
6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that
under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at
least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our
The court's 5-4 decision Wednesday struck down a Louisiana law that allows
capital punishment for people convicted of raping children under 12,
saying it violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The ruling spares the only people in the U.S. under sentence of death for
that crime — 2 Louisiana men convicted of raping girls 5 and 8. It also
invalidates laws on the books in 5 other states that allowed executions
for child rape that does not result in the death of the victim.
Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, said that had the court
"said we want to constrain the abilities of states to do this to make sure
that it's done in a careful and appropriate way, that would have been one
thing. But it basically had a blanket prohibition and I disagree with that
Obama has 2 daughters, ages 7 and 9.
He has long supported the death penalty while criticizing the way it is
As an Illinois legislator, he helped rewrite the state's death penalty
system to guard against innocent people being sentenced to die. The new
safeguards included requiring police to videotape interrogations and
giving the state Supreme Court more power to overturn unjust decisions.
He also opposed legislation making it easier to impose the death penalty
for murders committed as part of gang activity. Obama argued the language
was too vague and could be abused by authorities.
But Obama has never rejected the death penalty entirely. He supported
death sentences for killing volunteers in community policing programs and
for particularly cruel murders of elderly people.
"While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter
crime, I believe there are some crimes — mass murder, the rape and murder
of a child — so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is
justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the
ultimate punishment," he wrote in his book "The Audacity of Hope."
In 1988, a question about rape and capital punishment tripped up
Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.
Dukakis was asked during a nationally televised debate with Republican
George H. W. Bush whether he'd still oppose the death penalty if his wife
were raped and murdered.
His unemotional, dispassionate answer was ridiculed, and gave Republicans
more material to paint him as an emotionless liberal.
(source: Associated Press)