What is ‘cruel and unusual?’

January 21, 2008

by Roz Kohls

The Supreme Court agreed Jan. 4 to decide whether a state can execute someone convicted of raping a child, even though the child doesn’t die from the rape.

Patrick Kennedy, 43, was sentenced to death in 2003, for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter in March 1998 in their home in a New Orleans suburb, according to the Associated Press.

The Supreme Court banned execution for rape in 1977, in a case in which the victim was an adult. Kennedy’s lawyers want the Supreme County to declare the death penalty for child rape violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Raping a child seems more cruel and unusual punishment to the child, than the momentary pain felt by those being executed by lethal injection. However, to an anti-capital punishment group, I guess anything that actually “causes death” is cruel and unusual.

The anti-capital punishment group also has several more excuses for not executing killers and child rapists.

Serial killers can’t be executed because they are mentally ill. A normal person wouldn’t kill several people over time, the group says.

Stupid killers can’t be executed because they are mentally disabled, the group says.

A 17-year-old killer can’t be executed because he is a “child.” A 19-year-old killer can’t be executed either if he killed when he was 17, because, again, he was a “child,” the group says.

It’s impossible to determine, absolutely, for sure, positively, that the killer is guilty of the crime, according to the group. Even DNA evidence is not enough. To the anti-capital punishment group, there is no final appeal. Appeals are supposed to go on and on and on until the killer dies of old age, the group says.

A rapist who attacks a child has committed a heinous crime, inflicting lifelong emotional pain, if not physical pain.

Suppose this subhuman rapist beats the child to near death, but not quite death. The child is raped, but lingers in a twilight between “pulling the plug” and living. Isn’t this the same as murder?

I see no reason why a child rapist is more deserving of humane treatment than his victim.