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Transcript of Death Penalty
Legal/practice conflict: KENNEDY V. LOUISIANA
129 S. Ct. 1 - Supreme Court 2008
In 1998, Patrick Kennedy was convicted of raping his eight-year old stepdaughter
The assault was so severe that the young girl needed reparative surgery.
He was found guilty by the court, and in 2003, he was sentenced to death
First death sentence for a nonhomicide crime in any State since 1964 Alaska
New Mexico (as of 2009!)
(also, District of Columbia) States w/o death penalty REFERENCE CASE FOR 'kENNEDY V. LOUISIANA' COKER V. GEORGIA
433 US 584 - Supreme Court 1977 Kennedy's defense argued against his death sentence by referencing the 1977 case of 'Coker v. Georgia'
In this case, a rapist was also sentenced to death but the Supreme Court established that capital punishment was not a viable punishment for the rape of an adult woman
The court rejected the argument because of the fact that the decision made in Coker v. Georgia was made for the rape of an adult woman and not the rape of a child
History of the death penalty in America: Brought over from Europe by early American settlers
Every colony had different laws regarding capital punishment (Ex. Duke's Laws in New York -1665)
In the early 1800s, many states began to reduce their number of capital crimes and began building state penitentiaries
In 1846, Michigan became the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, except treason
1890- first person executed by electrocution
History continued... From 1907 to 1917, nine states abolished the death penalty, either entirely or with strict limits
In the 1930s, executions are at an average of 167 per year, which was the highest level in American history
The 1960's brought about arguments against the death penalty based upon the Eighth Amendment
In June of 1972, 'Furman v. Georgia' voids 40 death penalty statutes and suspends the death penalty
'Gregg v. Georgia' brought about the reinstatement of the death penalty
In the 1980's, the use of lethal injection began, execution of insane persons is banned, execution of children under the age of 15 is banned, but the Court found it permissible to execute the 'mentally retarded'
More Recently in death penalty news: However, in 2002, during Atkins v. Virginia, it was found that executing the mentally retarded falls under the ban against ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ held in the Eighth Amendment
In 2005, the previous ruling about criminals fifteen and under was extended to the execution of criminals eighteen and under, as unconstitutional (Roper v. Simmons)
In May 2007, the Supreme Court of Louisiana received a post-conviction challenge to the death sentence but they upheld that sentence. supreme court agrees to review case
On January 4 of 2008, the Supreme Court agrees to review the case of 'Kennedy v. Louisiana
Kennedy's defense is arguing on the basis of 'cruel and unusual punishment' because of how rare it has been, throughout history, for someone to receive the death penalty for this crime
Amicus curiae briefs had been filed, requesting this review, by NASW, the Louisiana Chapter of National Association Social Workers, the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence "The Court Should Intervene Now to Eliminate the Death Penalty For Child Rape, A Penalty That Harms Abused Children Rather Than Helps Them" Three Main Reasons:
-"Permitting the death penalty for child rape will worsen the problem of under-reporting sexual abuse."
-"Allowing Louisiana to execute child rapists will increase the incentives on child molesters to kill their victims."
-"The Louisiana statute would subject child victims to an increased number of trials and appeals,forcing them to relive painful events repeatedly and disrupting the healing process." Decision: On June 25,2008, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision made by the Supreme Court of Louisiana, and declared the statute,that allowed the death penalty for the rape of a child where the victim didn't die, as unconstitutional.
They decided that it was a violation of the Eighth Amendment and that the death penalty has been known to be implemented agaisnt the most heinous offenses only. prosecution requests hearing: After the U.S. Supreme Court's decision was made, a request for a rehearing was made on Ocotber 1st of that same year, but the request was denied
Military law was cited as the reasoning to request the hearing, but the U.S. Supreme Court explained that the law did not apply within civilian context The death penalty, for this crime was not unconstitutional, at the time. However, these organizations understood the implications that these legal statutes could have on the well-being of the victims Discussion Questions: THE END
What are some of the different roles that social workers might play in a death penalty case? NASW is against the death penalty.
Why do you think that the social work profession is against capital punishment? Are you in favor of the death penalty or against the death penalty? If you are against it, are there any circumstances when you are for it?