News 01.07.08

Wrongful convictions a factor in death penalty case before U.S. Supreme Court

This spring, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of capital punishment for the crime of child rape. Defendant Patrick Kennedy, convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter, brought the case, arguing that execution for rape is cruel and unusual punishment. In a friend-of-the-court brief at the Supreme Court, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has raised the concern that impressionable witnesses (such as children) increase the chances of wrongful conviction.  The Louisiana law, the group says, presents “an intolerably high risk” that innocent defendants will be put to death.

Read more about Kennedy v. Louisiana here


Download the NACDL Amicus brief


New York Times:

Justices to decide if rape of a child merits death

The court also heard oral arguments this morning in Baze v. Rees, asking whether Kentucky’s lethal injection practice amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. While a decision on this case is pending, most states have ceased to carry out lethal injections.

Read more about Baze v. Rees here


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