LA Law Allowing Death Penalty For Child Rape Has Supreme Court Divided

Proponents and opponents of imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child have faced intense questioning today from a seemingly divided Supreme Court.

The hour-long argument came in the case of Louisiana inmate Patrick Kennedy, who's under sentence of death for raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

Kennedy's lawyer told the court the death penalty for child rape under Louisiana law violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia challenged the lawyer's position that the Louisiana law is too broad.

And a Louisiana prosecutor argued Kennedy's crime was so savage, he deserves to die.

Kennedy is one of only two people, both in Louisiana, who are on death row in the U.S. for raping a child without also killing the victim.

No one has been executed for anything other than murder in 44 years. The Supreme Court has alredy ruled out executions for rapists whose victims are adults.

A second inmate, Richard Davis, was sentenced to death in Shreveport back in December.

He's appealing his conviction and sentence.

Caddo Assistant DA Brady O'Callahan is hoping the high court upholds the constitutionality of putting a child rapist on death row.

I think that the degree of moral reprehensibility involved in raping a child is equal to if not greater than the moral reprehensibility of killing another human being."

O'Callahan says other states are likely waiting for the ruling on this case before attempting to enact similar sentencing laws.