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State Legislative Affairs Update
By Scott Ehlers
Louisiana: Death Sentence for Child Rape Upheld by State Supreme Court
On May 22, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of
Patrick Kennedy, 42, for the aggravated rape of his eight-year-old
stepdaughter. The case, State of Louisiana v. Patrick Kennedy
(05-KA-1981), may force the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether the
rape of a child is punishable by death. The Supreme Court held in 1977
(Coker v. Georgia) that a death sentence could not be applied in rape
cases where the victim was an adult, but left open the question of
whether an individual who rapes a child can be sentenced to death.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Louisiana is one of
five states to allow the death penalty for certain sex crimes (Florida,
Montana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are the others). A bill (HB 8)
adding Texas to that list awaited the signature of Gov. Rick Perry as
The Champion went to press.
According to the Times-Picayune, Loui
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