Great decision by the Court in deciding that "the death penalty for child rape is unconstitutional if the defendants' acts were not intended to cause death." The decision was 5-4:
This is an obvious case of the punishment being disproportionate from the crime, even victims' rights groups were against it, correctly arguing that this could as an incentive for rapists to kill their victims.
Barring the death penalty for any crime that does not take the life of an individual victim, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for the crime of raping a child. If the victim does not die and death was not intended, capital punishment for that crime violates the Eighth Amendment, the Court ruled in an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The case was Patrick Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343). The broad declaration that death sentences should be reserved “for crimes that take the life of the victim” will apply, the Court said, to crimes against individuals — thus leaving intact, for example, a possible death sentence for treason.
Part of the Court’s rationale for nullifying a death sentence for raping a child was that the child victim gets enlisted, perhaps repeatedly, to recount the crime, forcing on the child “a moral choice” that the youngster is not mature enough to make. “The way the death penalty here involves the child victim in its enforcement can compromise a decent legal system,” Justice Kennedy wrote.