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U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Orders Briefs on Whether to Rehear Child Rape Case

Posted Sep 9, 2008 5:43 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has asked for briefs and set a short deadline for the parties to address whether the justices should reconsider their decision that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for child rape.

The state of Louisiana and the Justice Department are seeking a rehearing in the case, Kennedy v. Louisiana, because of a missed fact in the 5-4 opinion: The military has a law authorizing the death penalty for child rape.

The majority based its June decision in part on a national consensus against capital punishment for the crime. The court indicated yesterday that it wanted to rule on the rehearing issue at its opening conference on Sept. 29, the Washington Post reports.

It asked for briefs from Louisiana, the Justice Department and the lawyer for the death-row inmate convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter. The court’s order asks the parties to address not only whether a rehearing should be granted but also whether the overlooked law should change the majority’s conclusion about a national consensus, the New York Times reports.

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