The last execution of an individual found guilty for committing a non-homicide sex crime occurred 50 years ago. The use of the death penalty against such offenders was halted partly because of claims that such execution was not only cruel but also in violation of the Constitution. In Coker v. Georgia (1977), the Court ruled that executions for rape were not only cruel but also contributed to unusual punishment that infringed the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. In its ruling on the case, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited the death penalty for rape in an offense where the victim had the legal status of an adult since she was 16 years old and married. In the past few years, there have been attempts and efforts that support the reinstatement of capital punishment for committing a non-homicide sex crime. These efforts have primarily been centered on the use of the death penalty for sexual violence where the victim was not killed.
Abolition of Execution for Committing a Non-homicide Sex Crime
The history of the use of the death penalty as a punishment for offenders who commit a non-homicide sex crime can be traced back to more than 50 years ago. The last person to be executed for committing a non-homicide sex crime was Patrick Kennedy more than 50 years ago. Generally, the use of the death penalty as a means of punishing offenders of serious crimes is an issue that has attracted huge controversy in the recent past. In the past 30 years, the United States Supreme Court has definitely tilted toward conservatism though capital punishment cases have largely been an irregularity (Stanglin, 2008). During this period, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited the execution of ment...
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...g is the recent review of Kennedy v. Louisiana and Giles v. California cases. In both cases, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the states murder conviction of the victims on the premise that such sentences are cruel and unusual as well as unconstitutional. However, people who believe that the Constitution has retained its meaning throughout the years have detested the Court’s reasoning in both cases. This is primarily because the reasoning has largely been based on the developing standards of decency that reflect development of a maturing society. As a result, what might not have been cruel when the Eighth Amendment was endorsed in 1971 might be in the modern society. The ruling of the Supreme Court in both cases seemingly propagates the notion that it is disgusting for a progressive state society to kill an offender for an offence that does not result in death.
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