Supreme Court considers death penalty for La. child rapist
In a case drawing international attention, the U.S. Supreme
Court will begin hearing arguments today about whether states should be allowed
to seek the death penalty in cases of child rape that do not involve murder.
Only two men are currently on death row for such cases, both in Louisiana. The
Supreme Court will take up the case of Patrick Kennedy, a Jefferson Parish man
convicted in 2003 of raping an 8-year-old girl. The court will only be weighing
in on Kennedy’s death sentence, which, if overturned, will mean that he will
still face life in prison.
The case is generating vehement debate over what
constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.” Prosecutors have likened Kennedy,
who’s crime involved injuries to the victim and an attempted cover-up, to
hardened murderers. Four other states – Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and South
Carolina – have similar laws allowing the death penalty in some child rape
convictions. All four states are supporting Louisiana’s case, and Texas’
Solicitor General Ted Cruz will actually be arguing the case before the Supreme
Court. On the other side, Kennedy’s attorneys are arguing that the Supreme
Court follow a 1977 court ruling, Coker v. Georgia, which banned the death penalty
in a case involving the rape of a young adult. They are also likely to argue
that such a strict penalty could make it more difficult to get victim confessions
and convictions. An editorial in today’s L.A. Times argues against allowing the
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.