Sexual predators are now protected against capital punishment.
A person who rapes a child cannot be sentenced to death, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Wednesday.
The justices say capital punishment should be reserved for murder cases only, and that the U.S. Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment" and opposes the death penalty "for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim's death." The court defended its decision by saying that even if a rape was especially abhorrent, it would be almost impossible to imagine a circumstance in which the death penalty would be warranted.
What's more, "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the crime of child rape" and the death penalty would be banned "no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime."
Teaching the rapist what he did was wrong is key, the court ruled. "In most cases justice is not better served by terminating the life of the perpetrator rather than confining him and preserving the possibility that he and the system will find ways to allow him to understand the enormity of his offense."
Currently, many states have imposed stricter legislation against rapists, including maximum penalties of 25 years in prison, and five states give the death penalty for raping a child.
Surprisingly, many victims' support groups agree with this decision. They say if the rapist knows he will be put to death anyway for his crime, there would be no reason or incentive to spare a child's life.
Do you think child rapists deserve the death penalty?