The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling on a case from Georgia in 1977, held that the death penalty for rape violated the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. But the high court said repeatedly that its ruling applied only to adult victims....Patrick Kennedy is the only person in the United States on death row for rape.
In Tuesday's 62-page opinion, Justice Jeffrey Victory ... wrote that the Louisiana law meets the U.S. Supreme Court test requiring an aggravating circumstance — in this case the age of the victim — to justify the death penalty.
As early as 1996 the court had said that the law was constitutional, ruling in pretrial matters in other cases. Tuesday's ruling was the first time it upheld an actual death sentence for someone convicted under the law.
May 23, 2007
The death penalty for the rape of a child: "Short of a first-degree murderer, we can think of no other non-homicide crime more deserving."
Yesterday, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding the death penalty for the rape of a child under the age of 12.