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By Colin Garrett
Death Watch columns.
Even as support for the death penalty and the number of death sentences continue to decline across the country, legislators in South Carolina appear likely to expand capital punishment to those convicted of child rape. In the Palmetto State, where a moratorium and study bill was defeated in 2005, the South Carolina Senate recently passed S 1138, authorizing the death penalty for defendants convicted twice for raping a child younger than eleven, and a House subcommittee will hold hearings in early May. The statute would not require that the rape be forcible.
South Carolina will not be the first to pass or consider such a law in the modern era of the death penalty. Louisiana made child rape a capital crime in 1995. (La. R.S. 14:42(D)(2).) Since then, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Alabama have all considered bills to apply the death penalty to various sex crimes against children, though none have become law. Just this year in Tennessee, a bill was introduced in the
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