Today the Supreme Court determined that the death sentence imposed on a child rapist could not stand “no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be.” (Here) Let’s avoid for a moment, any discussion regarding the utility of the death penalty in general and focus on the implications of this case.
I happen to be of the opinion that there are few other crimes that deserve the imposition of the death penalty more than child rape. Obviously, the Supreme Court disagreed with me in what I consider a poorly reasoned decision, basing its decision on the fact that there were “not enough” states imposing the death penalty for child rape, there would be an incentive to murder the child to keep him/her quiet and because it could result in even more underreporting of rape than that which currently exists. All of these are terrible reasons to overturn this state statute as unconstitutional. The death penalty is a punishment — not a deterrent. It’s a statement that this crime is so detestable that the perpetrator does not deserve to live. Subjecting a young child to psychological trauma is about as detestable as it gets. I do not believe that a perpetrator considers the difference between life in prison and the death penalty when committing such a heinous crime. As a friend put it “now child rapist can feel free to savagely beat and rape children without the worry (or hassle) of killing them afterwards.” Excellent message to send.