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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Texas Legislators Consider Death Penalty for Repeat Sex Offenders of Children

Does Texas need to be any tougher on crime?  Well, some Texas lawmakers are considering it by proposing new laws allowing capital punishment for repeat sex offenders. Other proposals include mandatory long sentences for first-time offenders or eliminating probation.  But the laws face fierce opposition from all sides, including prosecutors and victims advocates.  They fear some of the proposals would make it harder to get convictions and, perhaps, put children in even more danger by giving molesters incentive to kill the only potential witness to their crimes..."If the punishment for raping a child and raping and killing are exactly the same the rapist may kill so that witness is no longer there,'' says one crime victim advocate.

And there's the BIG question of whether the death penalty in sex offenses is even constitutional. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, reversed a death sentence for a Georgia man convicted of raping a woman, calling it an "excessive penalty for the rapist, who as such, does not take human life.''  Even so, according to the Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, a handful of states--Florida, Montana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina--have already passed new death penalty laws for sex offenses against children. No one has been executed under the laws, but one Louisiana inmate is on death row for the 2003 rape of an 8-year-old girl. That case is still being reviewed by state and federal appeals courts.  Because Coker involved an adult victim, proponents of the death penalty expansion hope that SCOTUS will interpret Coker as a victim-specific ban on capital punishment for sex offenses, prohibiting death sentences adult victims but leaving room for sex offenders of child victims.  Story here from Dallas/Fort Worth's KLRD.com. . . [Michele Berry]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2007/01/texas_legislato.html

Capital Punishment, Sex | Permalink

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Texas Legislators Consider Death Penalty for Repeat Sex Offenders of Children:

» The Death Penalty in Texas from Sex Crimes
I've blogged about this issue before in some detail. CrimProf has a long post about discussions in Texas about applying the death penalty to certain sex crimes:Well, some Texas lawmakers are considering it by proposing new laws allowing capital punishment [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 17, 2007 3:52:08 PM

» Linkfest: Assorted Legal Updates from A Stitch in Haste
Time to clean out the aggregator: --- ITEM: A federal appeals court has (correctly) [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 19, 2007 7:12:26 AM

Comments

Coker, not Cocker. :-)

Posted by: KipEsquire | Jan 18, 2007 7:45:47 AM

Woops! thanks KipEsquire

Posted by: Michele | Jan 18, 2007 10:00:35 AM

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