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Anthony Kennedy and the leftists on the Supreme Court ruled this morning that what child rapist Patrick Kennedy did to his 8-year-old stepdaughter is a crime that should not be punishable by death.
The MSM will tiptoe around what child rapist Patrick Kennedy actually did.
I’m reprinting the full description of the crime from Kennedy’s ruling below in the interest of fully informing you all (warning – explicit). Is the death penalty “not a proportional punishment” to this crime? You decide. And the next time liberals wave the “For the children” banner, ask them about L.H.
From Kennedy’s majority opinion in Kennedy v. Louisiana, decided June 25, 2008:
…Petitioner’s crime was one that cannot be recounted in these pages in a way sufficient to capture in full the hurt and horror inflicted on his victim or to convey the revulsion society, and the jury that represents it, sought to express by sentencing petitioner to death. At 9:18 a.m. on March 2, 1998, petitioner called 911 to report that his stepdaughter, referred to here as L. H., had been raped.
He told the 911 operator that L. H. had been in the garage while he readied his son for school. Upon hearing loud screaming, petitioner said, he ran outside and found L. H. in the side yard. Two neighborhood boys, petitioner told the operator, had dragged L. H. from the garage to the yard, pushed her down, and raped her. Petitioner claimed he saw one of the boys riding away on a blue 10-speed bicycle.
When police arrived at petitioner’s home between 9:20 and 9:30 a.m., they found L. H. on her bed, wearing a T-shirt and wrapped in a bloody blanket. She was bleeding profusely from the vaginal area. Petitioner told police he had carried her from the yard to the bathtub and then to the bed. Consistent with this explanation, police found a thin line of blood drops in the garage on the way to the house and then up the stairs. Once in the bedroom, petitioner had used a basin of water and a cloth to wipe blood from the victim. This later prevented medical personnel from collecting a reliable DNA sample.
L. H. was transported to the Children’s Hospital. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that L. H.’s injuries were the most severe he had seen from a sexual assault in his four years of practice. A laceration to the left wall of the vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus. The injuries required emergency surgery.
At the scene of the crime, at the hospital, and in the first weeks that followed, both L. H. and petitioner maintained in their accounts to investigators that L. H. had been raped by two neighborhood boys. One of L. H.’s doctors testified at trial that L. H. told all hospital personnel the same version of the rape, although she reportedly told one family member that petitioner raped her. L. H. was interviewed several days after the rape by a psychologist. The interview was videotaped, lasted three hours over two days, and was introduced into evidence at trial. On the tape one can see that L. H. had difficulty discussing the subject of the rape. She spoke haltingly and with long pauses and frequent movement. Early in the interview, L. H. expressed reservations about the questions being asked:
“I’m going to tell the same story. They just want me to change it. . . . They want me to say my Dad did it. . . . I don’t want to say it. . . . I tell them the same, same story.” Def. Exh. D–7, 01:29:07–:36.
She told the psychologist that she had been playing in the garage when a boy came over and asked her about Girl Scout cookies she was selling; and that the boy “pulled [her by the legs to] the backyard,” id., at 01:47:41–:52, where he placed his hand over her mouth, “pulled down [her] shorts,” Def. Exh. D–8, 00:03:11–:12, and raped her, id., at 00:14:39–:40.
Eight days after the crime, and despite L. H.’s insistence that petitioner was not the offender, petitioner was arrested for the rape. The State’s investigation had drawn the accuracy of petitioner and L. H.’s story into question. Though the defense at trial proffered alternative explanations, the case for the prosecution, credited by the jury, was based upon the following evidence: An inspection of the side yard immediately after the assault was inconsistent with a rape having occurred there, the grass having been found mostly undisturbed but for a small patch of coagulated blood. Petitioner said that one of the perpetrators fled the crime scene on a blue 10-speed bicycle but gave inconsistent descriptions of the bicycle’s features, such as its handlebars. Investigators found a bicycle matching petitioner and L. H.’s description in tall grass behind a nearby apartment, and petitioner identified it as the bicycle one of the perpetrators was riding. Yet its tires were flat, it did not have gears, and it was covered in spider webs. In addition police found blood on the underside of L. H.’s mattress. This convinced them the rape took place in her bedroom, not outside the house.
Police also found that petitioner made two telephone calls on the morning of the rape. Sometime before 6:15 a.m., petitioner called his employer and left a message that he was unavailable to work that day. Petitioner called back between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. to ask a colleague how to get blood out of a white carpet because his daughter had “ ‘just become a young lady.’ ” Brief for Respondent 12.
At 7:37 a.m., petitioner called B & B Carpet Cleaning and requested urgent assistance in removing bloodstains from a carpet. Petitioner did not call 911 until about an hour and a half later.
About a month after petitioner’s arrest L. H. was removed from the custody of her mother, who had maintained until that point that petitioner was not involved in the rape. On June 22, 1998, L. H. was returned home and told her mother for the first time that petitioner had raped her. And on December 16, 1999, about 21 months after the rape, L. H. recorded her accusation in a videotaped interview with the Child Advocacy Center.
The State charged petitioner with aggravated rape of a child under La. Stat. Ann. §14:42 (West 1997 and Supp. 1998) and sought the death penalty. At all times relevant to petitioner’s case, the statute provided:
“A. Aggravated rape is a rape committed . . . where the anal or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without lawful consent of the victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:
. . . . .
“(4) When the victim is under the age of twelve years. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age shall not be a defense.
. . . . .
“D. Whoever commits the crime of aggravated rape shall be punished by life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
“(1) However, if the victim was under the age of twelve years, as provided by Paragraph A(4) of this Section:
“(a) And if the district attorney seeks a capital verdict, the offender shall be punished by death or life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, in accordance with the determination of the jury.”
(Since petitioner was convicted and sentenced, the statute has been amended to include oral intercourse within the definition of aggravated rape and to increase the age of the victim from 12 to 13. See La. Stat. Ann. §14:42 (West Supp. 2007).)
Aggravating circumstances are set forth in La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 905.4 (West 1997 Supp.). In pertinent part and at all times relevant to petitioner’s case, the provision stated:
“A. The following shall be considered aggravating circumstances:
“(1) The offender was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, or simple robbery.
. . . . .
“(10) The victim was under the age of twelve years or sixty-five years of age or older.”
The trial began in August 2003. L. H. was then 13 years old. She testified that she “ ‘woke up one morning and Patrick was on top of [her].’ ” She remembered petitioner bringing her “[a] cup of orange juice and pills chopped up in it” after the rape and overhearing him on the telephone saying she had become a “young lady.” 2005–1981, pp. 12, 15, 16 (La. 5/22/07), 957 So. 2d 757, 767, 769, 770. L. H. acknowledged that she had accused two neighborhood boys but testified petitioner told her to say this and that it was untrue. Id., at 769.
The jury having found petitioner guilty of aggravated rape, the penalty phase ensued. The State presented the testimony of S. L., who is the cousin and goddaughter of petitioner’s ex-wife. S. L. testified that petitioner sexually
abused her three times when she was eight years old and that the last time involved sexual intercourse. Id., at 772. She did not tell anyone until two years later and did not pursue legal action.
The jury unanimously determined that petitioner should be sentenced to death…
Reax from Andrew McCarthy:
Even if you agree with their bottom line, do Justice Kennedy and the justices in Kennedy v. Louisiana have a clue about how offensive it is to write this line in rationalizing why a man who has savagely raped his eight-year-old step-daughter should not be executed by the humane process of lethal objection:
“Evolving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person[.]”
And as for their “proportional” punishment argue, I think it’s silly on its face — read the almost unreadable (because it’s so excruciating) account of the rape and ask yourself whether it is really “disproportionate” to administer lethal-objection execution to a man who committed this type of barbaric a sexual assault on a child.
But let’s give him that one for argument’s sake. The Eighth Amendment talks about punishment that is cruel. First, punishment does not become cruel just because it’s disproportionate. And second, are we really striving here for proportionality? If a crime is cruel — as it clearly was in this case — wouldn’t a proportionate punishment also have to be cruel, and thus in violation of the Eighth Amendment?
Allahpundit sheds light on the liberal majority’s charade of Divining the National Ethos.