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    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up S.C. May Soon Execute Repeat Child Rapists

    State Senate Gives Preliminary Approval To Bill
    http://www.nbc5i.com/news/8335069/detail.html

    POSTED: 7:55 am CST March 29, 2006
    UPDATED: 10:23 am CST March 29, 2006

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that authorizes the death penalty for twice-convicted child rapists.

    The proposal approved Tuesday still needs a final reading before going on to the House.

    It would authorize prosecutors to seek capital punishment for any sex offender convicted twice of raping children younger than 11.

    The plan is part of a larger bill that would set minimum sentences for sex offenders and require lifetime electronic monitoring for some of them.


    Opponents said the measure would be unconstitutional. But the U. S. Supreme Court declined to review a Louisiana law that allows the death penalty for people who rape children younger than 12. Currently, murder is the only crime in South Carolina eligible for the death penalty.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1977 Georgia case involving an adult victim that sentencing someone to death for rape was unconstitutional.

    State Sen. Jake Knotts, chief backer of the South Carolina bill, said criminals who rape children don't belong on earth.

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    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    I'm not crazy about that. For one, it's hard enough to get jurors to believe children over adults as it is. Throw in a possible death penalty and people may be less inclined to convict and kill someone on the testimony of a child. I think it could well reduce the number of convictions and free some child rapists.

    Two, I'd rather them spend the rest of their lives at the very bottom of the food chain in prison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    I'm not crazy about that. For one, it's hard enough to get jurors to believe children over adults as it is. Throw in a possible death penalty and people may be less inclined to convict and kill someone on the testimony of a child. I think it could well reduce the number of convictions and free some child rapists.

    Two, I'd rather them spend the rest of their lives at the very bottom of the food chain in prison.
    I know we've differed on death penalty before, but I tend to agree with you on both points here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    I'm not crazy about that. For one, it's hard enough to get jurors to believe children over adults as it is. Throw in a possible death penalty and people may be less inclined to convict and kill someone on the testimony of a child. I think it could well reduce the number of convictions and free some child rapists.

    Two, I'd rather them spend the rest of their lives at the very bottom of the food chain in prison.
    This is a very good point. I'd like to see them get tougher on first time offenders. They shouldn't be given a second chance.

    I can't understand why a legislator can push for the death penalty, but no one mentions a much more fitting and humane penalty - castration. The freakin' Romans would do it to make young boys sing better, we do it to animals to stop them from procreating, why not hardcore sex offenders? I'm being 100% serious here.
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    213th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    This is a very good point. I'd like to see them get tougher on first time offenders. They shouldn't be given a second chance.

    I can't understand why a legislator can push for the death penalty, but no one mentions a much more fitting and humane penalty - castration. The freakin' Romans would do it to make young boys sing better, we do it to animals to stop them from procreating, why not hardcore sex offenders? I'm being 100% serious here.
    I don't know much about rapists and such, but I was under the impression that it was generally a power thing, not a sexual thing. Wouldn't that make it more likely to have castrated people using inanimate objects in place of themselves?
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    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    I'm not crazy about that. For one, it's hard enough to get jurors to believe children over adults as it is. Throw in a possible death penalty and people may be less inclined to convict and kill someone on the testimony of a child. I think it could well reduce the number of convictions and free some child rapists.

    Two, I'd rather them spend the rest of their lives at the very bottom of the food chain in prison.
    I don't know what the law actually says, but I think this concern could be mitigated if SC required a lot more than the child's word for the defendant to be eligible for the death penality - For example DNA in the wrong place, reliable adult witnesses, etc.

    Plus these things would have to be present in both cases - What are the odds that both cases would be fabricated? I guess in theory it'd be possible for the same kid to fake two rapes and frame someone twice if only DNA were required, but that's not likely if the 1st conviction results in several years' jail time so the kid may then be an adult the 2nd time around - still all it'd take is a used condom. Ewwww..
    Last edited by TXCharlie; 03-29-06 at 06:45 PM.

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    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Unless castration is done at a young age, pre puberty, it doesn't affect sexual performance nor desire. Horses that are gelded at an older age will still try to mount mares in heat. It only sterilizes them. With child rapists, age doesn't even seem to slow them down like it does other criminals. I've gotten convictions on 80 year old men for it.

    Oregon has mandatory sentencing that will put a child rapist away for a minimum of about 20 years, that's just on the rape. There are almost always other charges to go with it that will add up more. It used to be horrible here, I've seen them released within 18 months pre the mandatory sentencing voters initiative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie
    Plus these things would have to be present in both cases - What are the odds that both cases would be fabricated?
    Technically, the jury isn't supposed to know about any prior convictions of anything regarding the defendant. If they find out, it's generally grounds for a mistrial.

    And it'd doubtful anyone would rape a child if there is a responsible adult witness around. And more often than not, you find out about the rape sometime after the fact when the child tells a friend or another adult (like a teacher). DNA isn't nearly as prevalent in child rape cases as it is in adult. Usually ALL you have in a child case is the word of the child plus some circumstantial evidence, i.e. opportunity.
    Last edited by Retdetsgt; 03-29-06 at 06:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    Unless castration is done at a young age, pre puberty, it doesn't affect sexual performance nor desire. Horses that are gelded at an older age will still try to mount mares in heat. It only sterilizes them. With child rapists, age doesn't even seem to slow them down like it does other criminals. I've gotten convictions on 80 year old men for it.

    Oregon has mandatory sentencing that will put a child rapist away for a minimum of about 20 years, that's just on the rape. There are almost always other charges to go with it that will add up more. It used to be horrible here, I've seen them released within 18 months pre the mandatory sentencing voters initiative.
    Hmmm, I wish they would have that mandatory sentencing here. However if they are still offending at 80 years of age 20 years is obviously not enough. It should be life in prison and I mean life.

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    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    Technically, the jury isn't supposed to know about any prior convictions of anything regarding the defendant. If they find out, it's generally grounds for a mistrial.
    They would have to be told during the death penalty sentencing phase.

    I think that's how Texas does enhancements but I could be wrong - First the guilt-innocence phase excludes criminal history, but the sentencing phase brings in all the previous criminal history (since prior misdemeanors, for example, can upgrade the current crime from a misdemeanor to a State Jail Felony, or whatever.

    Otherwise, as you say, if the jury were told upfront that a minor theft was being treated as a felony, a knowledgable jury could surmise that this isn't the defendant's first time in a courtroom.

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    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie
    They would have to be told during the death penalty sentencing phase.
    They do here too in the penalty phase, but I'm still in the trial part. I believe it will have an effect there.

    Child rape victims are a different breed of cat. They are rarely snatched off the street and raped by strangers. Invariably, they are groomed by a family member or other person trusted by the family for years before being raped. The rapist plays off their child guilt and fear to keep them from telling. So prosecuting them is a bitch, to say the least and almost always hinges on the testimony of the child.

    The child is subjected to cross examination and defense attorneys are skilled at making the child appear confused w/o seeming to directly attack the child because that would piss off the jury too. But a small child can look pretty shaky. Again, throw in the possibility of death penalty and the the jury may well lean towards the defendant.

    Also, if you recall the day care center fiasco in L.A. about a decade or so ago, lousy interviewing by investigators can screw up a child's testimony too. Let's not forget that when we think about killing somebody.

    Now if you throw in the death penalty as a possibility (and the jury will be aware of that during the trial portion), I think juries will still be more hesitant to convict. Now the other thing, this isn't a murder trial, what's the alternative to death in that state? What choices will the jury have? Also does this cover oral and anal sodomy?

    I think the death penalty is a ill thought out knee jerk reaction designed to get votes. In reality, I bet it causes more problems. And I have no love for child abusers of any kind. I'd still rather them suffer the consequences within the social structure of the prison.
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    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daynathepayna
    Hmmm, I wish they would have that mandatory sentencing here. However if they are still offending at 80 years of age 20 years is obviously not enough. It should be life in prison and I mean life.
    Mandatory sentencing has an a major impact on crime in general. It took a voters' initiative to get it, the politicians were all wringing their hands over it, but it worked. My old city went from 50+ homicides a year to under 20 per year in a fairly short time. We were locking up the people for lessor violent crimes before they had a chance to kill someone. Blew away some sociologists theories that there is nothing you can do to prevent homicides.
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    That's what I like about you RDS - always the voice of well thought-out reason, even on issues that stir huge emotional reactions. We need to vote you in.
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    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Yeah, I guess as long as you keep 'em in prison for their entire sentence, that's fine - What gripes me is when they're sentenced to 20 years and only serve a third or a quarter of that - that's the main reason a lot of people like the death penality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie
    Yeah, I guess as long as you keep 'em in prison for their entire sentence, that's fine - What gripes me is when they're sentenced to 20 years and only serve a third or a quarter of that - that's the main reason a lot of people like the death penality.
    Keep in mind that time off for good behavior (or "gain time", as its called in Florida) is a huge tool for keeping the inmate population in line. Florida is now an 80% state, but it used to be 65%. I've heard stories of inmates crying and begging officers not to write them up for small infractions, because that takes a huge chunk out of their time off. An inmate with nothing to lose has... well, nothing to lose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    Keep in mind that time off for good behavior (or "gain time", as its called in Florida) is a huge tool for keeping the inmate population in line. Florida is now an 80% state, but it used to be 65%. I've heard stories of inmates crying and begging officers not to write them up for small infractions, because that takes a huge chunk out of their time off. An inmate with nothing to lose has... well, nothing to lose.
    That was a concern with the corrections people here because there is no parole for a lot of violent crimes. But now they let them have video games and stuff to play with and take those away for bad behavior. Seems to work well. People got pissed when they heard about it, but you gotta have something. People with nothing to lose are dangerous
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    That was a concern with the corrections people here because there is no parole for a lot of violent crimes. But now they let them have video games and stuff to play with and take those away for bad behavior. Seems to work well. People got pissed when they heard about it, but you gotta have something. People with nothing to lose are dangerous
    Exactly. People don't realize that things like TV and weight lifting areas are not for the inmates' benefit, they are used for control. A bored inmate is a dangerous inmate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    Exactly. People don't realize that things like TV and weight lifting areas are not for the inmates' benefit, they are used for control. A bored inmate is a dangerous inmate.
    They took away the weights here, that was getting ridiculous. Inmates were coming out huge! Cops here protested enough they finally took them out. But in their place they allowed the inmates to buy little TV's and put them in their cells. Also they added some video games ( NOT Grand Theft Auto ) and that's kept them fairly calm. There is also a lot an inmate can do here, the universities offer classes all the time. The only ones who are really limited are the ones on death row. (And the ones put in segregation)
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    Prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
    They took away the weights here, that was getting ridiculous. Inmates were coming out huge! Cops here protested enough they finally took them out. But in their place they allowed the inmates to buy little TV's and put them in their cells. Also they added some video games ( NOT Grand Theft Auto ) and that's kept them fairly calm. There is also a lot an inmate can do here, the universities offer classes all the time. The only ones who are really limited are the ones on death row. (And the ones put in segregation)
    Hmmm. Never really thought about the weight-lifting problem in regards to released inmates. Another reason that LEOs and COs need to have better dialog.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    Hmmm. Never really thought about the weight-lifting problem in regards to released inmates. Another reason that LEOs and COs need to have better dialog.
    It's a problem for a few months at least. Of course, hardly any continue lifting once they get out and it all turns to fat, but I've tangled with a few right after release and it's no picnic. For a while they were forming friggin' boxing teams in the joint and teaching these idiots how to fight! At the time, we had a cop who was also a state legislator and he put a stop to that.

    Yeah, DOC and police need to talk more. We could help each other a lot, I suspect.
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