Sunday, August 10, 2008

Child Rape & Capital Punishment

The fourth guiding criminal justice principle of the LampStand Foundation is:

4) Capital punishment is an appropriate response to the criminal evil of murder, rape, and pedophilia.

Capital punishment is often the only effective social method available to protect the innocent and applied with dispatch after legal review of the crimes charged and determining the fitness of its application, should be considered an appropriate sentence for murderers, rapists and pedophiles; who, knowing the time of their death, are able, with certainty of their remaining time to do so, seek God’s forgiveness.

Correctional professionals realize that if a pedophile is placed into a maximum security prison, where the population is primarily professional criminals, he will soon be killed, which poses an interesting question: “Why would the criminal world respond more aggressively to the abuse of a child than the non-criminal world?”

However, five states, have approved the use of capital punishment in child rape cases; Louisiana (where it is being contested), Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

From the Vatican Catechism (2007):

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.”

From the Summa Theologia of St. Thomas Aquinas (1920)

“According to the order of His wisdom, God sometimes slays sinners forthwith in order to deliver the good, whereas sometimes He allows them time to repent, according as He knows what is expedient for His elect. This also does human justice imitate according to its powers; for it puts to death those who are dangerous to others, while it allows time for repentance to those who sin without grievously harming others…

“When, however, they fall into very great wickedness, and become incurable, we ought no longer to show them friendliness. It is for this reason that both Divine and human laws command such like sinners to be put to death, because there is greater likelihood of their harming others than of their mending their ways. Nevertheless the judge puts this into effect, not out of hatred for the sinners, but out of the love of charity, by reason of which he prefers the public good to the life of the individual. Moreover the death inflicted by the judge profits the sinner, if he be converted, unto the expiation of his crime; and, if he be not converted, it profits so as to put an end to the sin, because the sinner is thus deprived of the power to sin any more. (ST. Thomas Aquinas, II-II, Ques. 25, Article 6, reply to objection 2.)”

This article from the Wall Street Journal examines the recent Supreme Court decision regarding capital punishment for child rape, and the aftermath.

An excerpt.

“In the recent case of Kennedy v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishments" barred Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of an 8-year-old child.

“The court perceived that there was a "national consensus" against the death penalty for child rape, concluding that capital punishment for this crime was inconsistent with "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." This supposed consensus, according to the court, was based on the fact that 44 states have not made child rape a capital offense; it also observed that while the federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 expanded the number of federal crimes punishable by death, it did not do so for child rape.

“But the factual basis of the ruling was in error. The court overlooked the amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2006 -- which imposed capital punishment for child rape. So much for the national consensus.

“On July 21, Louisiana filed a petition for rehearing. Will the Supreme Court grant such a request? It has in the past.”