Court rejects death penalty for raping children

Washington_The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday outlawed executions of people convicted of raping a child.

The court voted 5-4 that a Louisiana law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in such cases violates the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  Oklahoma has a similar law in which a person with a prior conviction of raping a child can be sentenced to death.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child.  There has not been an execution in the United States for a crime that did not also involve the death of the victim in 44 years.

The case before the court involves 43-year-old Patrick Kennedy who was sentenced to death for raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter in Louisiana.

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