Examination of Kennedy

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Death Penalty, Murder Pages: 3 (1031 words) Published: April 15, 2013
An examination of the Kennedy v. Louisiana case

Keith Clarke

The American Constitution: HIS 303

Tammi Clearfield

January 25, 2010

In this report we will review and examine the court case Kennedy v. Louisiana for how the facts of this case were interpreted by the guidelines of the constitution. Patrick Kennedy is a man from New Orleans who was accused of sexually assaulting his eight year old step daughter in what was described as a very brutal encounter. The assault resulted with the eight year old requiring surgery to repair her vaginal and rectal areas of her body. (supremecourtus.gov). Kennedy maintained that he was falsely accused of this crime and subsequently refused to take a plea deal. Prior to this case Louisiana state law stated that any rape of a child under age of twelve years can be punished by the death penalty.

In Louisiana this type of crime is considered a major crime which is comparable to first degree murder and this is the reasoning used to apply the death penalty (supremecourtus.gov). Children are a group that is considered a special group, legally speaking (supremecourtus.gov). In the year 1995 the law was amended by the state of Louisiana to include death for this type of crime, which put them in line with four other states that had previously changed this law to include capital punishment. Kennedy was eventually convicted of this crime and sentenced to death under the existing statute. The defendant did not believe that he should be punished by death, so the case was appealed to the higher courts.

Now that the case reached the high courts, the main point in question would be if the crime fit the punishment. It would be compared to a case that had taken place back in 1977 in the state of Georgia. Coker v. Georgia had a similar situation with the major difference being that the victim in this case was an adult female. A conviction of rape also resulted in the death penalty being applied....
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