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The U.S. Supreme Court issued an orders list following its conference today. As expected, they took the capital child rape case, Kennedy v. Louisiana. They also took two federal sentencing procedure cases, Irizarry v. United States, 06-7517, and Greenlaw v. United States, 07-330.

As we have noted before, we at CJLF consider the death penalty for any nonfatal crime to be a bad idea, even if it is constitutional. There needs to be a meaningful differential in punishment between rape and rape-murder to give the rapist an incentive not to kill the victim. That is also why the death penalty is very necessary for rape-murder.

In procedural matters, the Court turned down the ABA's untimely motion to participate in oral argument as amicus in Virginia v. Moore. Yes, ABA, even you have to follow the rules. The SG gets in to Monday's argument in Baze v. Rees and in the Indiana voter ID cases, as usual.

According to the hearing list, Kentucky will be represented at oral argument by Roy Englert of Robbins, Russell, rather than by any of the state attorneys on the brief.

Expect an orders list Monday with a large number of cert. denials, no grants, and routine procedural stuff.


Some nonfatal crimes should be punishable by death, e.g., thwarted terrorist attacks, drug kingpins and other crimes which have large impacts on many many victims or have such potential.

With my head I agree that rape should not be a capital crime--however, strictly as a matter of just deserts, Patrick Kennedy should be executed for his beastly crime.

There is no way the SCOTUS will affirm. Several of the justices won't allow executions for people who kill children, let alone rape. I do find Kennedy's (petitioner) crime reprehensible. Hopefully, Louisiana has a LWOP.

Yes, there may be some nonfatal crimes for which the death penalty is appropriate. The statement in the original post should be limited to the context of crimes against individuals. National security matters, such as treason and espionage, as well as unsuccessful terrorism, such as the inept shoe bomber, present different considerations.

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