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BREAKING - THE LAW 4-15-08 US Supreme Court Hears Louisiana Case: Execute Child Rapists
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2008 9:27am

WASHINGTON, DC  From CNN (By: Tom Pace. Talk of the Town)  BREAKING: THE SUPREME COURT  11:45am 4-15-08   Should child rapists be executed like condemned murderers?  The state of Louisiana is at the center of a "first-of-its-kind" test case, to be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.  The story is making "front-page" news on the CNN website this Tuesday.  

New Orleans native Patrick Kennedy faces the reality as he sits on death row at Louisiana's maximum security prison, the largest prison in the nation. The Louisiana State Penitentiary, or Angola Prison, is the size of Manhattan and surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River.

Unlike the 3,300 inmates awaiting execution nationwide -- including the 94 other men at Angola -- Kennedy, 43, is a convicted rapist. The victim was his 8-year-old stepdaughter.  

For the first time in 44 years, a state is preparing to execute a man for a felony other than murder. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether Louisiana can use capital punishment in child rape cases.  

The constitutional question before the justices is whether the death penalty for violent crimes other than homicide constitutes "cruel and unusual" punishment. The high-profile examination of the death penalty also raises anew a national debate over selective prosecution and race.


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