Patterico's Pontifications

6/25/2008

Supreme Court: No Death Penalty For Child Rape

Filed under: Court Decisions,Crime — Patterico @ 7:16 am



The decision was 5-4 with Kennedy joining the liberals.

Howard Bashman will be posting the link to this and other decisions here.

UPDATE: The Court also cut the punitive damage award for the Exxon Valdez spill from $2.5 billion to $500 million.

The decision in the Heller gun rights case will be issued tomorrow.

61 Responses to “Supreme Court: No Death Penalty For Child Rape”

  1. The decision was 5-4 with Kennedy joining the liberals.

    Quel surprise.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  2. That’s fine…

    Just done house them is segregated units… Put them in GenPop…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  3. So the court threw a supposed sop to the “liberals” (no death penalty) to save Exxon corp a couple of billion dollars? Can we look for kickbacks? Ok I’ve been over at the world domination conspiracy theory site again and the two headlines above have nothing at all to do with each other…. but … well… can we see if the justices are taking kickbacks?… In a world were money is all that counts and the “market” calls all the shots every little bit helps right?

    EdWood (06cafa)

  4. The ruling is just an expression of the liberal justices’ *maturing standards of decency*.

    tmac (86debe)

  5. It’s much more than that, tmac. The Court (Keenedy) demands “maturing standards of decency” and it’s the only arbiter of what they are. It’s been obvious for a long time that Kennedy abhors the death penalty, he is one hundred percent goddamn right, and he will do his best to restrict it and eventually eliminate it no matter what we Neanderthals say. Just because he can do it. He is going to make us into decent human whether we want it or not.

    nk (11c9c1)

  6. Tmac: no, it’s simply just another example of the Court (the liberal Justices this time) claiming for themselves the power to decide what should be decided by the people through their duly elected legislatures.

    steve sturm (a0236e)

  7. That was the most disingenuous, full of straw men and red herrings, circular reasoning I have ever seen in a Supremes opinion with the bottom line “just because I say so”.

    nk (11c9c1)

  8. it’s a good day for child-rapists and oil companies. i dissent from both decisions. hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for gun owners.

    assistant devil's advocate (05d9ab)

  9. Maybe we should abolish the eighth amendment.

    Michael Ejercito (a757fd)

  10. We have to keep in mind that Ruth Buzzy Ginsberg would like to see the age of consent to be 12. I also wonder how much of this ruling is a sop to the muslims, since Mohammed’s behavior with his “wife” Aisha would be capital child molestation under LA law.

    I wish some state would enact the death penalty by musket for murder. Obviously it would qualify as in keeping with our founders intent, and would make thes POS liberal judges expose themselves even to the dumbest democrat constituants.

    martin (126f1f)

  11. Well, Exxon-Valdez was largely moot inconsequential. Exxon would have earned the 2.5 billion over the July 4 weekend in any case.

    You cannot fight Valdez.

    nk (11c9c1)

  12. And here is what really got me, from the Reuters article on the decision, attributed to Kennedy:

    “He said a national consensus exists against capital punishment for the crime of child rape.”

    Well, based on that, it sounds like he also believes it is unconstitutional to think global warming is a fraud (there’s a consensus don’t you know)! He really thinks he is there to rule based on whether or not something has a consensus?!?

    Michael M (25ccc4)

  13. Sick and horrible.

    I would have preferred the Court to simply announce its decision without the pretense of legal reasoning, which can only form the basis for more bad decisions.

    On a somewhat snarky note, I wonder what group of people were analysed for the “evolving standards of decency.” Last time I checked, child rapists who are put in with the general population still find themselves dead quite quickly; even the hardened criminals, who see nothing wrong with theft, drug use, prostitution, and a host of other social misdeeds see child rape as something supremely vile and deserving of death.

    I suspect that most parents would, if given the opportunity, kill the man who raped their toddler.

    Finally, one can use lethal force to defend oneself (or others, in some jurisdictions) against rape. It seems strange that I could kill the man who would rape me, but it would be “cruel and unusual” for the state to execute the successful rapist.

    bridget (add3eb)

  14. Be careful, Bridget. Self-defense is only mitigation and not a defense in Europe. And Kennedy just loves foreign law.

    nk (11c9c1)

  15. While I admire Justice Kennedy’s commitment to advancing the rule of law and civilisation in this barbaric, backwards country we call America, maybe he would be more at home in a cafe in Paris.

    IIRC, nations that sign into the EC do not have the death penalty. I’m not surprised, then, that a private individual cannot use lethal force to protect herself. With more decisions like this, the U.S. will move in that direction, too.

    bridget (add3eb)

  16. The EuroTwats will applaud this civilized child rape decision. It matters what they think. How many lib justices will spend their summer congregating with those other legal geniuses. How many pedophiles are recidivists? How many Catholic priests ever paid for their child rapes?

    The left is so consistent: convicted/sentenced to death/fellated by Hollywood swells Mumia Abu Jamal= bad to exterminate..Late term child birth abortions= a good thing to suck brains out

    madmax333 (28aaa6)

  17. I would kill someone who raped my child as well, and I would do what I could to get around police protection to carry the deed out.

    That being said, if you enact the death penalty (as sanctioned by the state) for child rape wouldn’t that incentivize the rapists to kill the children they rape, to avoid any possible witnesses, since they would die anyway?

    Andy (09ab51)

  18. #9: I hope you’re joking.

    #10: martin, maybe at some point you could contribute a comment that doesn’t make cheap shots based on religion (or race, for that matter)…just an idea.

    In general, I think this a difficult moral question. I’m troubled by the fact that this results in a de facto ‘win’ for child rapists (inasmuch as life w/o possibility of parole constitutes a ‘win’).

    However, the criteria for the death penalty should be extremely stringent. It is not enough to declare that society should be able to execute whomever it wants, based on any acts that are deemed abhorent. Iran is one such society, and they execute people for, among other things, having gay sex.

    So the acts must also be irreversable, to some delineated extent. Child rape, of course, does have irreversable effects upon the abused children, their family, and community. However, so do many other forms of child and domestic abuse for which the death penalty is not applied. When somebody is killed, that is clearly irreversable. The line is much more clear. But when the victims live, and can reconstruct their lives to whatever degree…therein lies the sliding scale.

    I have a Christian point of view regarding redemption, and I know it is possible (though not often the case) for both the victim and criminal to become redeemed after the fact. So I have trouble with irreversable punishment in general, but especially for reversable crimes. I want to acknowledge that one the people I love most in my life is a victim of child rape, and as long and painful as the recovery process has been for her, I cannot believe that executing her abuser would have helped her recover in any way (and she doesn’t either, incidentally).

    Tom (edfcb3)

  19. Kennedy used the 8th Amendment, with a host of previous decisions saying what it really meant. Evidently the 8th cannot be read simply, but rather must be read with a bunch of lawyerese.

    Is the death penalty cruel and unusual? No, as previous cases have been ruled upon. That means that the 10th Amendment applies, and this is NOT a federal case. The Supremes have NO jurisdiction, and the state of Louisiana should continue with the execution.

    The Crawfish (e86321)

  20. nk…
    Agree, Valdez was one of Burt’s better action roles.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  21. That being said, if you enact the death penalty (as sanctioned by the state) for child rape wouldn’t that incentivize the rapists to kill the children they rape, to avoid any possible witnesses, since they would die anyway?

    That’s exactly why execution for child rape ought to be legal.

    Here’s why. There is an empirical question of whether or not more children would die if child rape were a capital crime. There is also an empirical question if fewer children would be raped, or die, if this were a capital crime: it’s hard to escape from prison and rape toddlers when you’re dead. Those empirical questions are policy questions, which are not Constitutional questions. Furthermore, the empirical question can be answered by using the states as “laboratories of experimentation,” whereby states set up different regimes and see which one works the best.

    bridget (add3eb)

  22. J. Kennedy’s love of Eu law, and the fawning that will follow from his opinions when he summers in Davos (or, whatever), should disqualify him from his present position.
    But, what it really does, is make many of us extremely apprehensive as to what the Heller decision is going to be, what its’ parameters will be, and how much wiggle room he will grant to the various levels of government to abrogate a BoR right.
    I will not sleep well tonight.
    Oh, BTW, the Exxon award WAS monstrously excessive – couldn’t have been worse if it came out of an AL jury.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  23. there’s irony in tom (#18) dissing another commenter for injecting religion into the record, then turning around and doing it himself. tom, why does the victim of child-rape need to be “redeemed” if she didn’t do anything wrong? do you believe that your friend is somehow “damaged goods” on account of her experience? regarding redemption of the rapist, we have a principle in science called falsifiability which addresses this. if there’s no way to ever determine whether a proposition is true or false, it is said to be unfalsifiable, and it is consequently weightless in the deliberations of scientists trying to understand the universe. how would i ever know one way or the other whether a criminal was “redeemed”, and why should i care?

    assistant devil's advocate (05d9ab)

  24. I have lost all faith in the Supreme Court. I am a lawyer of 16 years and I am ashamed for all lawyers based on the two most recent SC 5-4 decisions. They just make it up as they go along- the constitution be damned, 200+ years of history be damned. The law is what we say it is, and that’s that. The State’s should just continue with the death penalty for child rapists and let Kennedy try to stop them. There is no SC “Police,” at least not YET. The rule of law in this country is a disgrace. Someone rapes a child, get a rope and find a tree. Back in the 1800’s wasn’t horse stealing a capital offense? The only consolation I find is I believe that it is true that if the child rapist is put in with the general population, justice will be done by the other inmates. All the more reason to support McCain, even though he is too liberal, he’s better than the other guy. Our SC sucks donkey D*cK, I’m sorry I can’t come up with anything better, but I’m just so f***ing pissed right now – What the hell are they thinking??? Who is feeding them stupid pills??? Aaaaargh!!!

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  25. nk #11 Epic….. and too true….

    EdWood (06cafa)

  26. Its an apalling decision. And ‘maturing standards of decency’ in 21st century America is just laughable. How culturally ignorant are these people?

    So five states “allow executions in such cases if the defendant had previously been convicted of raping a child.“. These animals get a freebie and then if they harm another child, they will pay the price. Considering the high rate of recitivsm, its mind boggling that deference would be shown.

    “It is not enough to declare that society should be able to execute whomever it wants, based on any acts that are deemed abhorent.”

    You would have to define abhorent then. This is not Iran. Our laws and penalities are not based on an ancient Draconian system of punativeness. We also do not base such grave matters as execution on the assumption that only males (heteros) are valued in our society, with dogs, women, and gays at the bottom of the worthy list. I don’t think the analogy works.

    And while I share the view of Christian redemption, I am in full support of execution for child rapists. That person, to the very moment of death, has as much opportunity for redemption as anyone else walking the earth does. That they are being executed does not negate God’s omnipotence. And I do not read anywhere in the Book where we are forbidden to mete out consequences to those who break the law of the land.

    nk related one of the most heinous and haunting stories of a case of his regarding a mother who restrained her 8-year old daughter on her lap while a man who paid $50, raped her. (nk, if I have it wrong, please correct me). That rapist too may find redemption at the Cross, but there is no reason why he can’t meet perfect grace and mercy through his execution.

    Dana (f12688)

  27. Its an apalling decision. And ‘maturing standards of decency’ in 21st century America is just laughable. How culturally ignorant are these people?

    So five states “allow executions in such cases if the defendant had previously been convicted of raping a child.“. These animals get a freebie and then if they harm another child, they will pay the price. Considering the high rate of recitivsm for those committing crimes against children, its mind boggling.

    “It is not enough to declare that society should be able to execute whomever it wants, based on any acts that are deemed abhorent.”

    You would have to define abhorent then. This is not Iran. Our laws and penalities are not based on an ancient Draconian system of punativeness. We also do not base such grave matters like execution on the assumption that only males (heteros) have value, with dogs, women, and gays at the bottom of the worth scale. I don’t think the analogy works.

    And while I share the view of Christian redemption, I am in full support of execution for child rapists. That person, to the very moment of death, has as much opportunity for redemption as anyone else walking the earth does. That they are being executed does not negate God’s omnipotence and grace. And I do not read anywhere in the Book where we are forbidden to mete out consequences to those who break the law.

    nk related one of the most heinous and haunting stories some while back of a case where a mother restrained her 8-year old daughter on her lap while a man who had paid $50, raped her. (nk, if I have it wrong, please correct me). That rapist too may find redemption at the Cross, but there is no reason (and no mandate) that forbids his meeting forgiveness through, or even because of his execution.

    Dana (f12688)

  28. uh-oh, double post. Can it be removed?

    Dana (f12688)

  29. I have been hearing many reactions like the above about the supreme court. Apparently they are either mostly (5-4?) bleeding heart liberals or (5-4?) out of control right wing activist judges depending on how they rule on which case. I guess you can’t please everyone… or is it anyone these days?

    Do you really get sent up in Europe even if you prove it was self defense?
    Yet ANOTHER reason I am so very glad to be living in the good old gun totin, God fearin’, loud mouth trash talkin’, still have at least a couple of personal and civil liberties left USofA! That and, of course, the fact that if I wanted to have gay sex wearing a Jesus mask in front of a cartoon making fun of Yahweh that I had erected on the steps of the National Cathedral (Hey! it was ART man!!!!), I might get run in on some sort of indecent acts in public charge, (or get beaten by outraged Christians), but at least I won’t get my head chopped off.

    EdWood (06cafa)

  30. Uh… In my post I meant “reactions like the above” as in ALL the commentors above, not just Dana.

    EdWood (06cafa)

  31. christianity cracks me up. in dana’s world, the man who paid $50 to rape an eight year-old can turn around at the last second, when the needle for the lethal injection is going in, and say “ok jesus, i’m ready to come on board” and minutes later upon his death, jesus welcomes the rapist with open arms “i love you, you’re a good guy, here, let me buy you a drink on the heavenly house.” the victim may not be so lucky. she prayed to jesus to stop the rape while it was happening, and jesus was somewhere else and didn’t care enough to come to her aid, so she learned that prayer is futile, her faith weakened in consequence, so upon her death, she was consigned to hell to burn in torment for all eternity.

    proud to be pagan!

    assistant devil's advocate (05d9ab)

  32. ADA – interestingly, I’ve heard some people argue that the death penalty (at least for murder) is entirely humane for that very reason. The perpetrator, unlike his victim, has time to reconcile himself with Christ before he dies; the victim, however, has no chance to build her relationship with God before dying. Therefore, the death penalty is inherently less severe than the crime.

    bridget (add3eb)

  33. ada…
    It seems to be an article of faith that all will be forgiven; but, is that true?
    How do we know that our Maker will treat us any differently than a true Saint?
    If God is all forgiving, why is the Devil in Hell?
    We might be accepted back into the fold, but there very well could be serious conditions attached.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  34. BTW, bridget, you seem to have a very good mind.
    I think you should have no trouble with the BAR.
    I don’t think you’ll find your niche in the criminal defense bar.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  35. ada #31,

    Where do you get that from? The Good Thief? The way I heard it, Dismas was a bandit — neither a rapist nor a murderer. Read your Bible again. Grace does not extend to people who harm children.

    nk (11c9c1)

  36. Take my life. Not my Liberty. I think I dislike Justice Kennedy. Should I?

    Andy B (ebd07f)

  37. Anyone think this will be remembered in November?

    Old Coot (85f458)

  38. where do you get that from?

    nk, i got it from christian tom (#18) and christian dana (#26-27). there seems to be a doctrinal dispute here, and i did not let pass the opportunity to note the incongruity of the rapist going to heaven and the child-victim going to hell. in the king james version, jesus equivocates (or maybe he nuances like john kerry); there’s the line about millstones around the necks of those who hurt the little ones, but also “whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    if god is all-forgiving, why is the devil in hell?

    drew, i like john milton’s explanation best. the devil prefers to run his own shop, rather than being just a spear-carrier in a bigger organization. if god created the devil, then god bears some responsibility for the spirit of personal autonomy he bestowed on the devil and us, and he can scarcely claim surprise when we exercise our autonomy. he would have done better and saved a lot of trouble if only he had instilled a little more obedient servant mentality in his servants now, wouldn’t he?

    assistant devil's advocate (05d9ab)

  39. drew, i like john milton’s explanation best. the devil prefers to run his own shop, rather than being just a spear-carrier in a bigger organization. if god created the devil, then god bears some responsibility for the spirit of personal autonomy he bestowed on the devil and us, and he can scarcely claim surprise when we exercise our autonomy. he would have done better and saved a lot of trouble if only he had instilled a little more obedient servant mentality in his servants now, wouldn’t he?

    He could have done that.

    Instead, He gave us a choice between following him and eternal torment in the lake of fire.

    Michael Ejercito (a757fd)

  40. she prayed to jesus to stop the rape while it was happening, and jesus was somewhere else and didn’t care enough to come to her aid, so she learned that prayer is futile, her faith weakened in consequence, so upon her death, she was consigned to hell to burn in torment for all eternity.

    She should have read her Bible. Jesus has been allowing rape to happen for more than three thousand years.

    2 Samuel 13:1-21

    Michael Ejercito (a757fd)

  41. I went to Jesuit University but am hazy on theology of heaven and hell. Perhaps the victimized child will end up in limbo? What are the implications long term for abused/raped kids? Don’t some of them harbor such deep hurt and resentments that they too become abusive to others? I don’t know what excuses professional who listen to other peoples’ problems have for victimizng them. I guess because of opportunity and carnal desires? Of course the left was happy enough with Bill Clinton’s sexual urges overall and especially his frolicking in the oral office with the chubby girl and the cigar, even if he was the dominant boss figure and she was so young albeit willing.
    A fundamentalist preacher told me that the devil values the soul of a holy man much more than an ordinary human because there is more of a challenge to actually grab that holy man’s soul. I think that’s bullshit and so-called religious figures ghet there rocks off because they want to. Another preacher in same group said that God might forgive me for being divorced but that he and the congregation never could. Meanwhile there were plenty of sexual affairs going on between various married couples. I asked the one dude how come my divorce is deemed evilness and his admiited-to-me years before sodomy with his cousin was acceptable….oh, my slip was a matter of public record and his was just boyhood adventure not on the public record.

    I still think sexual predators should at least loose their cojones/squat to pee like Chrissie Matthews.

    madmax333 (79a1db)

  42. I believe that for Catholics at least, a child killed before it was baptised spends eternity in Purgatory, a child killed before they are Confirmed in the Church goes directly to heaven, a child that is Confirmed in the Church gets the same stuff as an adult…

    Or so I recall from speaking to a very Catholic friend…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  43. ada, my response was to Tom and to point out that whether said criminal is executed does not preclude an omniscient God extending His grace if He desired It was not stating that the criminal would turn. I perhaps should have been clearer.

    Tom also mentioned irreversible punishment as if it was the end-all – and it is in this life but in matters of eternal life, that’s God’s business.

    Make no bones, though, Matthew 8:16 makes it very clear what the score is in these matters:

    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    Dana (f12688)

  44. I would also add that doctrinal disputes are nothing new. This is how I see it.

    Dana (f12688)

  45. “While I admire Justice Kennedy’s commitment to advancing the rule of law and civilisation in this barbaric, backwards country we call America, maybe he would be more at home in a cafe in Paris.”

    The last time I was in a cafe in Paris the owner very nearly threw a Muslim woman, who was begging, under a bus on the Champs Elysee. I wouldn’t count on cafe owners. Maybe cafe time-wasters but they are everywhere.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  46. the owner very nearly threw a Muslim woman, who was begging, under a bus

    Sen. Obama has relatives in Paris?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  47. #23: ada, my issue with martin here is that he used this thread as a cheap opportunity to smear Islam categorically. When I brought up my faith, I did so for the purpose of contextualizing where I’m coming from, not in order to denigrate those who believe other than I do.

    Also, I do not believe that the victims of crimes need “redemption” for having suffered at the hands of others. I mean that in the sense that it is possible for both victim and criminal to have changed lives thereafter. This of course won’t erase what happened, but neither is it necessarily “game over” for either one.

    As to whether you should care whether a criminal is “redeemed” or not, it might not matter from your view if someone will never again be released, but I think society in fact ought to care whether a criminal has been rehabilitated once they reenter society. Call it redemption, rehabilitation or change of heart, I think it’s a pretty vital stage of the justice process, one which benefits us all as it becomes more effective.

    I’d rather have a rehabilitated criminal be released from prison than one who only ‘did the time’ and nothing changed. Redemption matters.

    #26: Dana, I appreciate your comments. I agree that Iran is not the best analogy, but I still think it illustrates my point that our standard needs to be more than simply that which seems “wrong enough” in this place at this time.

    And I do not read anywhere in the Book where we are forbidden to mete out consequences to those who break the law of the land.

    Well, as a point of biblical disagreement, I think Jesus actually more often posed a challenge to the “law of the land” than he did an endorsement. And I think you’d be hard-pressed to pull an endorsement of capital punishment out of Jesus’ words and deeds, especially when there are so many words and deeds that directly speak to the redemptive opportunity for all people, not to mention his willingness to save a woman from capital punishment without her even admitting guilt/expressing remorse, etc.

    there is no reason why [the rapist] can’t meet perfect grace and mercy through his execution.

    I agree with this. But I do believe there’s a higher moral calling than simply this “eye for an eye” style of meting out justice.

    Tom (956b82)

  48. First of all I think rape is the worst form of terror any one should experience. More so a little child. It’s horrible. Just imagine the psychological trauma that little girl of 5, 6, 7, 8 will have to endure. Unimaginable. That said. I believe the death penalty is too harsh a penalty for the rapist. As much as I would love to put a gun in the rapist’s mouth and blow his brains out, I think asking for the death penalty reduces the importance and effectiveness of capital punishment. Putting the child rapist in the same class with a murderer, traitor and enemy of the state. However I support the death penalty if the rape results in death. In that case the rapist should be executed for taking life.
    Another reason I dont support the death penalty for child rapists is more out of concern for the victim. If the rapist knows that he will be executed if found what stops him from taking the life of the victim to protect himself? But if he knows he will serve maybe a life sentence, it will make him a little more humane. So to really protect the victims, the death penalty needs to be abolished for this particular crime, unless like I said, the victim dies as a result.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  49. love2008 — your last sentiment is a perfectly appropriate policy consideration for a legislator making the decision.

    But it has nothing to do with the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  50. No, love2008. There are some crimes so horrible that society must express its disapproval violently or it becomes an accomplice after the fact to them. And who speaks for society and society’s values are the people and not five Supreme Court Justices. Maybe society will agree with you. That the death penalty is in the end the greater evil and will lead to a greater evil than child rape. But it is its absolute prerogative to say so or not.

    nk (11c9c1)

  51. #49 and #50
    So you agree with Obama? Thats good to know.
    But NK and WLS, what would you say if the child rapist was say, a brother or some close relative? Would you actively pursue the death penalty agaisnt your own blood? Especially when the victim, maybe your child or a ward was not killed in the process?

    love2008 (1b037c)

  52. So you agree with Obama? Thats good to know.

    Considering that Barack You-Know-I’m-Lying-Because-My-Lips-Are-Moving Obama was the most pro-abortion State Senator Illinois has produced, I consider him a lying piece of shit panderer on this issue who will say the exact opposite thing when he’s begging for money from his leftist friends.

    As for the “Dukakis question”, there’s a very good reason we do not allow relatives and friends of either the victim or the perpetrator to sit in judgment.

    nk (11c9c1)

  53. Did I say “society” or did I say “me”? It’s not about me and it’s not about Kennedy, Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer.

    nk (11c9c1)

  54. You did say “society” NK.
    #50
    Maybe society will agree with you.
    But I get your point.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  55. Thank you. And I hope that I correctly stated your position, “That the death penalty is in the end the greater evil and will lead to a greater evil than child rape”. I do try to argue honestly, here. Let me know if I did not.

    nk (11c9c1)

  56. But if he knows he will serve maybe a life sentence, it will make him a little more humane. So to really protect the victims, the death penalty needs to be abolished for this particular crime, unless like I said, the victim dies as a result.

    The flip side of that is that the mentality to kill may not always be present in those with the mentality to rape, terrorise, and abuse.

    The death penalty can be the single best way to ensure that the rapist is punished without forcing the victim to testify at trial. A perpetrator who knows that he is facing the death penalty has a strong incentive to “plea to life:” he can plea-bargain to life in prison without parole, which is preferable to the death penalty. Without the death penalty, he has little incentive to plea-bargain to any harsh sentence, which will make it more likely that he will insist on a trial. At that point, the prosecution will often need the testimony of the victim to secure a conviction.

    Another thought, another policy consideration, and, therefore, another reason why this ought to be a legislative decision.

    bridget (add3eb)

  57. #55
    You did state my position accurately NK. And you are a very brilliant mind I must add.

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  58. That’s not how plea bargains work, Bridget. Illinois’s first death penalty case after Furman was of a rapist/murderer who pleaded guilty. The prosecution nonetheless went ahead with a death penalty hearing.

    Plea bargains need two sides to negotiate and if the prosecutor has an ironclad case he will not bargain unless he is so totally overworked at the moment that he does not think he can do his best if the case goes to trial. From the defense side, pleading guilty is a sign of remorse and accepting responsibility but the sentencing judge or jury are smart enough to see it as a cynical ploy when that’s only what it is.

    And there’s not going to be a plea bargain in a case like this one with any self-respecting prosecutor. This was an extremely difficult case for the prosecution, legally and factually. But the crime was so horrific that they had to prosecute it to the utmost.

    nk (11c9c1)

  59. And you are a very brilliant mind I must add.

    “The more words a man remembers, the cleverer his fellows esteem him.” Roger Zelazny, “Lord of Light”.

    nk (11c9c1)

  60. Well, nk, some of my criminal law profs – who spent their lives doing criminal defence work – disagree with you.

    bridget (add3eb)

  61. Whatever. What do I know, anyway? My only C in law school was in Criminal Law.

    nk (11c9c1)


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