Monday, March 12, 2007
From chron.com: 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]