Justices Strike Death Penalty In Child Rape; Ruling Reserves Capital Punishment For Those Who Kill
Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher is quoted in The Daily Journal about yesterday's Supreme Court decision striking down the death penalty for a child rape conviction:
WASHINGTON - A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment bars states from executing defendants for the crime of child rape, the latest blockbuster ruling from the court that limits the use of capital punishment.
Striking down a Louisiana statute that allowed the execution of child rapists, moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by the court's four liberal justices, wrote a broad opinion holding that the death penalty is not available for crimes against individuals that do not result in the death of the victim.
Stanford University law professor Jeffery Fisher, who argued and won the case for Kennedy, said the court correctly adhered to its previously articulated view that the death penalty needed to be limited to a very narrow class of offenders.
"I think the court's quite right," Fisher said. "There's really no good way to contain it once you move beyond cases where the victim dies."