Last modified on July 14, 2020, at 15:36

Kennedy v. Louisiana

Kennedy v. Lousiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008), was a 5–4 landmark decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, 2008 which decided via the Eighth Amendment of the Bill of Rights that the death penalty cannot be used as a punishment for child rapists unless the victim died or that there was an "intent" to murder the child. Despite the extremely abhorrent crime leading up to the decision, the Court ruled in favor of heinous criminals by interpreting the Bill of Rights in an extremely biased manner; the author of the majority opinion, Anthony Kennedy, despite acknowledging the sufferings of victims, showed little sympathy in practical terms when giving lenience to atrocious tormentors and other repulsive criminals alike.


Leading up to the Supreme Court case, a Louisiana man named Patrick O'Neal Kennedy was charged by a court of brutally raping his stepdaughter, tearing her perineum and inner vagina. The jury unanimously held that Kennedy should be given the death penalty, and the rapist appealed. The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the sentencing, noting that the previous Supreme Court ruling Coker v. Georgia, which prohibited the application of capital punishment for rapists, did not include child rape within its parameters of judicial leniency towards criminals.

The case soon took to the Supreme Court, with the convicted Kennedy heinously arguing that Coker v. Georgia applied to all rapists regardless of the age of the victim, and that he thus cannot be sentenced to death. In a slim ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer in siding with Patrick O'Neal Kennedy, largely basing their decision on skewed interpretations, faulty precedents, and judicial activism. The four Justices who dissented from the majority came from Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Roberts.

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