Supreme Court to Review Death Penalty in Child Rape Case
Posted Jan 4, 2008 3:36 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough
The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether it's constitutional to impose a death sentence for the crime of child rape.
The case of 43-year-old Patrick Kennedy was among six the high court granted for review, SCOTUSBlog reports.
Kennedy, who sits on death row for raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter, has the distinction of being the only person on death row not convicted of murder. He's from suburban New Orleans. Louisiana is among five states in which child rape is a capital offense. The case is Kennedy v. Louisiana.
But Kennedy argues his execution would amount to "cruel and unusual punishment." Bloomberg news notes Kennedy would be the first person executed for rape in the U.S. since 1964.
The court also agreed to review two other sentencing cases: Irizarry v. U.S., in which the court is being asked whether a judge should notify both sides if the judge intends to depart from sentencing guidelines; and Greenlaw v. U.S., which would decide whether a federal appeals court can increase a criminal sentence without a government appeal, SCOTUSBlog reports.