Child Rape Death Penalty a Legislative ‘Tsunami’
Posted May 7, 2007 6:52 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Texas is a state known for its aggressive prosecution of death penalty cases and frequent executions, but even here some feel proposed legislation to provide for capital punishment of child rapists may go too far.
Nonetheless, it is not the first such bill, reports Time magazine, citing already-on-the-books child rape death penalty statutes in Oklahoma and South Carolina. Hailed by Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as appropriate "Texas tough" legislation, the proposed death penalty bill has drawn opposition from prosecutors.
While those supporting such legislation may picture a violent crime committed by a stranger, family members are in fact the perpetrators in most cases. Hence, juries can be reluctant to convict, especially when they believe a harsh penalty will be imposed.
"Prosecutors will tell you these are the most difficult cases to get a guilty verdict on," says Shannon Edmonds, a lobbyist for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. She describes the proposed death penalty legislation as a "tsunami wave coming to Texas."