Thursday, October 21, 2010

Death Penalty for Child Molesters?

There has been a fierce battle and debate over the issue of “Cruel punishment” for child molesters. Both sides arguing back and forth, if they should have the same laws applied to them as a murderer, or the death penalty is too harsh of a punishment.

Oklahoma has recently become the 5th state in the country to approve the “Death penalty” for child molesters. Under the measure signed by Gov. Brad Henry, anyone convicted twice for rape, sodomy or lewd molestation involving children under 14 can face the death penalty.
South Carolina's governor signed a similar law, allowing the death penalty for offenders convicted twice of raping children younger than 11. Louisiana, Florida and Montana also have laws allowing the death penalty for certain sex crimes.

Defense attorneys and death penalty experts said the laws defy recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have scaled back the death penalty's application. Barbara Bergman, president of the Washington-based National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said Supreme Court decisions have made it clear that the death penalty is reserved for someone who has taken another life.

"I'm not saying that raping a child is not a horrible crime, but no one has died," said Bergman, who was part of the defense team that avoided the death penalty for Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols following his 2004 conviction on 161 murder counts.

(Blogs note: What an absolute crazy quote! Shame on you Miss Bergman!)

David Brook, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., said the measure might actually put a child rape victim's life at risk. "The last message you want to give an offender who has the life of a child in his hands is you might as well kill the child because he's already got the death penalty," said Brook, who runs the Virginia Capital Case Clearing House, which assists lawyers in death penalty cases. "This is a very stupid message."

No one convicted of a sex offense has been executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment 30 years ago, though one inmate is on death row in Louisiana following his 2003 conviction for raping an 8-year-old girl.

The following is an article written in TIME magazine, debating the pros and cons.

In the state that is the nation's undisputed death penalty leader, Texas, you might think there is no such thing as a punishment considered too harsh. But as legislators there consider joining the small but growing number of states making certain convicted pedophiles eligible for the death penalty, a surprisingly vocal group of critics has emerged, arguing that the measure is shortsighted, counterproductive and probably unconstitutional.
"There's tough. And then there's Texas tough," Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst declared at his January inauguration as he pledged to press for mandatory 25-year sentences and a two-strikes death-penalty provision for convicted child predators. The proposal is a more extreme version of the so-called " Jessica's Law " passed by the Florida legislature in the wake of the February 2005 rape and murder of nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford. That landmark statute imposed mandatory 25-year prison terms and life electronic monitoring for sex offenders, and since its passage in May 2005 42 states and Congress have implemented or are considering their own very similar laws.

Dewhurst's stance made headlines and has won him kudos from national backers of Jessica's Law such as Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and John Walsh, producer of America's Most Wanted. But it also sparked the formation of an unexpected coalition of opponents, featuring some of the state's toughest prosecutors as well as victims' rights groups, both of whom worry that the measure could backfire and result in fewer convictions.

"We saw the tsunami wave coming to Texas," said Shannon Edmonds, state lobbyist for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. Last year, South Carolina adopted the death penalty for the second offense of raping a child under age 11. Oklahoma followed, passing Jessica's Law with a death penalty provision for raping a child under age 14. Texas already had some of the toughest child predator laws on the books with its two-strikes rule that sends child predators to jail for life. But the push for even harsher punishment was coming from the state leadership, rather than from the grass roots, as tightening of criminal laws often does. "Prosecutors will tell you these are the most difficult cases to get a guilty verdict on," Edmonds said. "Prosecutors lose more of these cases than any other."

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault also voiced its concerns about "unintended consequences" of Jessica's Laws. The mandatory sentences can backfire, said TAASA spokeswoman Karen Amacher, as prosecutors lose the flexibility to seek lesser sentences in cases where a jury trial may prove too taxing for a child witness, or a jury or judge may not feel a 25-year sentence is warranted. Since an estimated 80% of child sexual assaults are committed by family members, groups like Amacher's are concerned that mandatory sentence laws, not to mention the death penalty, might dissuade certain people from reporting abuse to authorities. "With sex offenders we want to say let's lock them up and throw away the key — these folks are just awful, after all — but it's just not realistic," Amacher said.
Even avowed supporters of the death penalty in murder cases think the Texas proposal would be a bad idea. "If you give the same sentence for molesting a little girl as for molesting and killing a little girl, it seems an incentive to go ahead and kill her," said Michael Rushford, head of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento, Calif.

Legal scholars from both sides of the political spectrum have warned Texas legislators the death penalty for repeat sex offenders would likely be declared unconstitutional. In 1977 the Supreme Court ruled in Coker vs. Georgia that the death penalty in rape cases was cruel and unusual punishment. Nevertheless, several states have retained old laws providing the death penalty for rape of minors — including Florida, Montana and Louisiana. Only one state, Louisiana, currently has someone on death row charged with raping a child: Patrick O. Kennedy, who faces the death penalty after being convicted in 2003 of raping an eight-year-old. His case is being appealed and could make its way to the Supreme Court, according to Richard Dieter, head of the Death Penalty Information Center.
Even so, prosecutors aren't willing to sit and wait for the highest court in the land to sort it all out. Instead, district attorneys around the state told the legislature that what they really needed were more tools to win cases, not limits on their choices. Working in committee, prosecutors and victims' rights groups managed to include evidence rule changes that would give them more flexibility in presenting child witnesses. The 25-year mandatory-minimum requirement was fine-tuned to apply only to egregious cases such as those involving children under the age of 6 or the use of a deadly weapon. But while it is optional in the bill adopted by the Texas senate, the death penalty remains mandatory for a second offense in the House version. With overwhelming support in both houses for at least a death penalty option, it is likely some kind of capital punishment provision will survive in the final bill that is passed.

Still, if the mandatory death penalty provision for a second offense survives in the Texas bill, it would be 25 years before anyone could face that punishment. They would have to be found guilty of the first offense under the new law initially and serve the mandatory 25 years. If the Senate version with the optional death penalty survives, the politicians will surely trumpet it, but it is unlikely prosecutors would use that new tool, given the time and resources that would have to be poured into a case that would almost certainly be appealed. "I think prosecutors would wait for guidance from the Supreme Court first," Edmonds said.
Just two weeks before the Senate passed its version of Jessica's Law, two men freed on DNA testing after serving 27 years in prison between them for adult sexual assault visited the state capitol. The lone senator to vote against the bill reminded his colleagues of their visit. "At some point we have to decide where do we draw the line on something that's politically right but morally wrong," State Senator Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, said as he cast his vote. "I'm for the death penalty, but I think it would be nice if we had a system where we got the right one."

I would like to get feedback from my readers. Please write me your take on it, and explain why you think it’s pro or con. I agree with the death penalty for child Rapist. But unlike some who say that you have to be a repeat offender, i believe a "First timer" should be under the law as well.

11 comments:

  1. Okay, I'm opening myself up to be "strongly disagreed with" (to put it mildly), but here's my take.

    First of all, I definitely disagree (respectfully) with the opinion that there should be a death penalty after a first offense. We're talking about someone who may have made a mistake - an absolutely, horrible mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. It is noteworthy that the only situations that the Torah requires some form of a death penalty, even to the extent of playing around with the circumstances/method of execution, are murder and a "maisis" - notice there are no sexual crimes on that list. One could argue that a child molester has the same status as a murderer (although, even as a victim, I won't), but I am willing to take the chance that a person who ch"v did it once, and did his 25 years or whatever in prison, may not still be a menace. (Obviously if we're talking about someone who has hundreds of victims, this doesn't apply.)

    Even on a second offense, though, I would still be against it. Child molestation was around in the times of the Mishna and Gemara - there is a Gemara in Brachos that even discusses allowing kids to be alone with a gentile slave because of it - and yet we don't find anywhere that such a person gets killed. Make sure this guy has no way to be around kids? Absolutely. Lock him up for life? Not a bad idea. But we don't go around zapping people. There is a list of people who Beis Din has to remove from the world. It's not our place to go and add to this list, no matter how horrible the crime may be. (What would be the punishment for a man who rapes a 7 year old girl? At most it's Malkus.)

    Please don't get me wrong - I am in now way minimizing or being callous towards the atrocity that is child molestation. I know only too well what effect is can have on someone. But we strive to live our life al pi Torah - that's why we're on this site, and not certain other ones - and let's not let our emotions get in the way.

    I'm certainly open to your responses.

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  2. First of all, I am very sorry that you were molested; I hope you got the treatment and therapy to make sure you have a pain free life. I respect your opinion and may I add you made your point well. However, let me say this point. We can not keep going back to arguments of the Gemurahs time. It was a different world and a different style of living and we really don’t “truly” know what went on. There are laws that a “Mussir” may be killed. Would you apply that today? Of course not! And on the same note, wopuld you say that someone that rapes a sever year old should get away with Malkus? Of course not!

    I understand both sides of the argument, and quite honestly I am happier when a guy like Baruch lebowits or any other convicted child molester, rather spend 30 years in prison so he has lots of time to think what he did.

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  3. NuchemISright...
    I see you have great ideas to change the Torah... How about A bris? is that in your opnion good for an 8 day old baby? is it ok with Miss Polin?
    And is SHCITEH ok? I have so many more on you but I am sure you get the point... You are an APIKOIRES!!!!!!!

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  4. i am all for life in prison without parole

    by the way can you transalate the story that r nochum posted about the student sex slave from yeshiva
    im sure your listeners want to know

    by the way one of your perverts on your wall of shame is being assisted to move to north miami beach

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  5. Ok Anon 5:59,

    What do you feel about the zalis or Aroinys that went to court? What should be done to them? What do you think should be done with Baruch Lebowits or Yechiel brauner? What should be done when Rabbi Leichtag agrees that schita is not kosher and was called from the Rabbis house not to talk about the “Ducks” that were CHAZIR TREIF!
    Do you really want to discuss the issue or you just like to make comments with no solutions? I know you always have questions and comments but NOT ONCE did you answer me any of the above

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  6. I would agree with those that are afraid this will increase the chance a molester will KILL his victim - since he has nothing to lose (either way, death penalty.)

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  7. Death for Molesters and Child RapistsOctober 21, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    kill 'em and until then, let them get ass fucked by Bubba on a daily basis.

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  8. dear all !

    death penalty might in some cases not be a punishment at all ! life time in prison with no parole would suit much more , that such chazerim should suffer and have time to think of it 4 20, 30, 40, or 50 years !

    also if the would be death penalty for such crimes , i think that a lot of yidishe people who have yet yes come forwoard and reportet molestere's to the police , will in such case not come forwoard , it will be much harder than and also the so called rabunim will " dance tango " on each one ..........

    but , it would be nice !

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  9. With respect to the Rabbi....

    Undeniable fact:
    Child (under the age of 8) rapists are FAR
    more deserving of the death penalty,
    than
    the ageing lady who pulls the plug on her terminaly ill, horribly pained life mate..
    (Who DOES qualify for execution)

    Patrick Kennedy is a monster, too dangerous to be allowed to exist.
    These monsters get out, and molest our most precious, and most vulnerable citizens.. again & again....

    George Williams

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  10. I totally agree with the death penalty for someone who has molested a child, especially when it ends in the childs death. These children are innocent and helpless against a predator with no defense at all from these sick bastards. The only reason they are on "good behavior" in prison is because "they don't have access to children" but as soon as they are released, they are on the hunt for another innocent child.
    Get rid of them for good and "maybe" those out there will think about it before taking a child for their sick appetites.

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  11. this sucks like ass

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