CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, March 12, 2007

Questioning the Constitutionality of Sentencing Sex Offenders to Death

From  Texas Rep. Debbie Riddle's declaration that there's a "one in a million" chance her bill expanding the death penalty for repeat child sex offenders is unconstitutional might be optimistic, according to legal scholars and death penalty experts who have reviewed the measure.

They point to previous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court barring the death penalty for adult rape that does not end a life and banning its use for offenders who are mentally retarded or younger than 18 at the time of the crime.

"One could think rather confidently that this would not be upheld," said Lino Graglia, a constitutional law expert at the University of Texas known for his conservative views, citing precedent on the issue and recent decisions limiting the scope of the death penalty even for convicted killers.

Death penalty experts, moreover, note that of the five states allowing the death penalty for child rape, only one handed that sentence down. And it is the case of pedophile Patrick Kennedy, making its way through Louisiana state courts, that could render the issue moot before Texas ever sends a child rapist to death row. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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» Around the Web from Sex Crimes
There is lots of stuff going on lately and I can barely keep track of it all. A helpful reader sends us a nice article discussing a local effort in Massachusetts to apply residency restrictions to certain sex offenders. Grits [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 12, 2007 6:47:13 PM


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