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First Arizona Execution in 7 Years
In 1987, Larry Pritchard, a disabled emergency medical technician from Florida, was camping at Apache Lake in Arizona. Robert Comer murdered him, taking his "gear, his money, and even his dog." He also kidnapped and raped a 19-year-old woman. The Arizona Republic had this story Sunday on the crime and Comer's subsequent decision to drop his federal habeas proceeding. Their site also has the original story of Comer's capture in 1987. The Ninth Circuit decision is discussed here. Comer was executed this morning. He was the first inmate to be put to death in Arizona since November 2000 and smiled throughout his execution, as reported by kpho.com.

In Louisiana, the state high court upheld the death sentence of Patrick Kennedy for rape of a child, Kevin McGill reports for AP. The opinion is here. In Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutionally disproportionate for the crime of rape of an adult woman but reserved the question of child rape.

OC Mother found beaten and daughter found dead
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the burned body of a young woman was found on a hiking trail hours after her bludgeoned, unconscious mother was discovered in the driveway of their burning Anaheim home early this morning. The father is missing and is at the center of an unfolding mystery involving arson, assault and murder.

4 Comments

"but reserved the question of child rape."

Cite, please.

A negative inference based on dicta doesn't count.

Also, the victim in Coker was 16. That's not a child?

You have to love the courts--they can make a minor into an adult simply by saying so. She was 16, but for purposes of the case, she was an adult.

The first sentence of part III of the lead opinion unambiguously limits the question "with respect to rape of an adult woman," and that limitation permeates the entire opinion.

The AP story linked in the main post contains this quote from one of the country's foremost anti-death-penalty spinners:

"'They left open if a victim was a child,' said Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C."

Not even Dieter has the chutzpah to claim that Coker resolved the question.

Once more, with feeling, I think this statute is bad policy. Whether it is unconstitutional, however, remains unresolved.

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