Friday, October 03, 2008

Kennedy v. Louisiana Take II

The United States Supreme Court "affirmed" its decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana earlier this week by refusing to rehear the case. As you may recall, the Kennedy case reviewed the constitutionality of executing someone who was "only" guilty of child rape and had not also committed a related murder. The Supreme Court found such executions unconstitutional during its last session. It now upholds that decision. You can read about the update on CNN here.

I despise child rape with everything in my core and, in some cases, I believe its punishment should equal that of many forms of murder. Still, as you know, I vehemently oppose the death penalty. I believe the death penalty should be abolished. As such, I am pleased with the Court's decision in this case. It will make fewer individuals eligible for State murder, and the fewer murders the State commits, the better.


saba said...

Is it really fair to characterize a particular execution as a "state murder?" Isn't it the case that for an act to be legitimately considered murder there must be either some maliciousness or negligence? I'm not so sure that a state sanctioned execution of a death row inmate rises to the level of a murder. After all, there other forms of state sanctioned killing that I'm sure you would certainly not disagree with. For instance a police shooting of a dangerous violent criminal that's threatening someone's life or state sanctioned killing of foreign enemy intruders. If one accepts the states moral authority to carry out these executions, why is it that the state completely lacks the moral authority to carry out an execution of someone that has been proven guilty of carrying out an act as malicious as raping a child?
I share your views that someone who commits a child rape need not necessarily be executed, but I disagree that the state lacks the moral authority to do so if it deems it appropriate. As I see it, the only time the state lacks the moral authority to carry out an execution is if it is executing someone without proper safeguards to ensure such a person is actually guilty or if the death sentence does not fit the crime. Of course reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not the death sentence is a punishment that fits the crime of child rape, but I believe its firmly within the realm of reasonableness and as such is morally acceptable.

CarrieJ said...

I believe the killing of another human is rarely if ever justified and is qualified as murder or homicide if it the killing is not "justified". Most of the situations you described involve self-defense or defense of others in imminent danger of death or serious injury. I would agree with the state sanctioned killing of a foreign enemy intruder only if it was in a self-defense/imminent danger situation. I believe such individuals should be imprisoned, not put to death. The death penalty is retribution and punishment - which to me is enough to make it homicide. People are not executed to prevent danger to others. We've proven we can keep people locked up for their lifetimes away from society, so any argument that the death penalty prevents the accused from further killing is moot with me. Life without possibility of parole works in many many states. There's no reason it can't work in death penalty states.