Upholding the view that capital punishment only applies to homicide, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty cannot be imposed for child rape.
The nation's highest court ruled by a 5-4 vote that the death penalty for the crime of raping a child violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Writing for the court majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Constitution bars a state from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child when the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim's death.
The ruling was a victory for Patrick Kennedy, 43, of
Of the more than 3,300 inmates on death row in
The Supreme Court last ruled on the death penalty and rape in 1977, when it outlawed executions in a case in which the victim was an adult woman. It declared the death penalty an excessive penalty for a rapist who does not take a human life.
That decision left open whether the death penalty can be imposed for child rape. The
Kennedy, in the court's majority opinion, declared the
Date created : 2008-06-25