KEY FEATURES • A brief introduction to the U.S. judicial system and to the public policy dimension of judicial decisions provides context for the material. • Criminal and regulatory laws are presented with contrasting views on various contemporary public policy issues, including assault weapons, hate crimes, stand your ground laws, police use of deadly force, and much more. • A question for debate and learning objectives appear at the beginning of each chapter. The debate format features contemporary topical issues that engage students and ask them to consider various points of view. • Brief essays introduce students to each debate and put the issue into context to help students understand how policy issues arise in criminal justice and law. • Summaries of the positions follow the debate sections to ensure students have a clear understanding of the contrasting arguments. • “You Decide” exercises and discussion questions appear at the end of each debate to give students the opportunity to apply what they read to new and novel situations.

Capital Punishment: The Death Penalty for the Rape of a Child

4.4 capital punishment: the death penalty for the rape of a child

Should Offenders Convicted of the Rape of a Child Be Punished by the Death Penalty?

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the significance of the phrase “worst of the worst” in terms of the U.S. Supreme Court’s approach to capital punishment.
  • Understand the Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana.
  • Know the arguments for and against the imposition of capital punishment for the rape of a child.

Oppose the Death Penalty for the Rape of a Child

Justice Anthony Kennedy, majority opinion, Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008)

Support the Death Penalty for the Rape of a Child

Justice Samuel Alito, dissenting, Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008)


The U.S. Supreme Court ...

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