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.