Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reckless disregard

It is very difficult to rationalize our collective decision to put someone to death for crimes against society. Currently the penalty cannot be applied in cases of person-on-person violence other than murder or reckless disregard for life. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Mr. Patrick Kennedy’s case yesterday and the seems to be hopelessly divided. It is a difficult case if one goes into the details.

(From the case details here).

Patrick Kennedy was convicted in 2003 for the aggravated rape on March 2, 1998 of his then eight-year-old stepdaughter, then sentenced under a 1995 Louisiana law that allows the death penalty for the rape of a child under the age of 12.

The victim said that she woke up, watched television, and ate breakfast, which was prepared by the defendant, whom she called “Daddy”. The victim, who was eight when raped and nearly fourteen years old at the time of trial, took the stand during the fifth day of testimony. After some brief questions about her age, the State asked “Do you remember what happened to you in 1998,” to which the victim answered “yes.” When asked to tell what happened, the victim stated “I woke up one morning and Daddy was on top of me...”

Isn’t this reckless disregard for life? The votes are to be cast tomorrow that will test the constitutionality of the death penalty for the crime of raping a child. The Scotus blog covers it in detail and I am sure will follow this to its logical or illogical end…

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