Saturday, May 19, 2007

TEXAS GETS IT 110% CORRECT

And to think I was worried this law was not going to pass. Let's get this train moving Nationwide!

Texas Lawmakers OK Death for Child Rape.
By JIM VERTUNO
Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas sex offenders who are twice convicted of raping children under 14 could get the death penalty under a bill state lawmakers approved Friday.

The state House passed Texas' version of "Jessica's Law," a crackdown on sex offenders who prey on children, a day after the Senate approved it.

The bill is named for Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was abducted and killed. More than a dozen states have passed versions of Jessica's Law.

Gov. Rick Perry has said he was open to the idea of the death penalty in child sex cases and that passage of a child sex offender bill is a legislative emergency. Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said the governor will wait to read the final version of the bill before deciding whether to sign it into law.

"The purpose is to make Texas a safer place for children and a more dangerous place for their predators," said Republican Rep. Debbie Riddle, the bill's House sponsor.

Texas would be the sixth state to add the death penalty for some child rape cases, although legal experts debate whether the punishment would be unconstitutional in cases where the victim did not die. Louisiana has an inmate on death row in a child sex crime, but that case is being appealed.

Democratic Rep. Lon Burnam called child sex crimes horrendous but said the state that executes more inmates than any other should not expand its use of the death penalty.

Victim advocates have warned that adding the death penalty would do more harm than good if it leads perpetrators to kill victims to avoid leaving witness.

The bill also creates a new category of crime - continual sexual abuse of a young child or children, carrying a minimum penalty of 25 years to life in prison.

5 comments:

Auntiem said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Jessica's law stated that ONE conviction of child rape and the perp got 25 to life. I hope that's the case, because it's a known fact that the FIRST time that a perp is caught and prosecuted is most likely the 100th time he has done so. If the law in Texas gives the death penalty on the SECOND offense, what happens after the first? Does he get 25 to life? Probation? Five years?

Zoltan said...

AuntieM- let's remember we are also having a rash of female predators too. If this seems new I'm sure it is not, but certainly just getting the attention it deserves.

I'm not totally sure, but I would imagine the convicted would get the initial 25 years and upon release be eligible for the Death Penalty upon the second offense.

This law looks like it could go into effect immediately and those released from prison would automatically be eligible for the new stature.

I think the details are what are important and they do not seem to be available currently.

For instance, is there an age limit here? A 21 year old man or woman and a 17 year old boy or girl in a relationship?

or a 45 year old man or woman preying on children online?

There is a big difference there imo.

Time will tell, but I believe this is a terrific step forward and I believe will be a deterrent.

Death Penalty opponents often state that the Death Penalty does not deter. What is forgotten is that the Death Penalty is the punishment and if it deters one person that's great but not the intention.

When someone kills someone (and I'm not talking about manslaughter but premeditation) they usually know that could result in a death sentence unless the person is mentally incapable of forming those decisions.

No one wants the mentally challenged to face the Death Penalty. There is something inherently wrong about executing someone with the reasoning ability of a 5 to 7 year old.

There will always be those that will fake a mental condition and we need mental health professionals that are willing to evaluate these individuals honestly.

This reminds me of an execution in Arkansas while Bill Clinton was Governor (not to start a political discussion) but there was a man that was facing execution and Clinton decided to make an example that he was tough on criminals and used the advice of Dick Morris and they executed a mentally challenged man about age 28.

When the execution was about to take place, he the man had his last meal and when he was being escorted to the Death Chamber, he was asked if we would like to eat his cookie before they went. He replied he was saving it for when he returned.
Clearly he did not know what awaited him.

I believe that is a classic illustration of someone mentally incapable of seeing the overall picture.

Society should protect those that have lower overall understanding of the punishment they could face due to a brain injury or to mental condition that renders them incapable of consciously recognizing the total consequence involved.

Auntiem said...

What I was trying to say/ask is that I was under the impression that Jessica's Law states that when a pedifile rapes a child, and is convicted the FIRST time, the penalty is life, therefore, I am not understanding how the Death Penalty would be applicable here.

Do I believe that a 21 year old (male or female) having consensual sex with a 17 year old should be considered a "pedifile", NO, I do not. Do I think that these sick women teachers who have been found having sex with their male students should get Life or the death penalty, or in any way be judged under Jessica's Law, NO, again, I do not. They are sick, should lose their Teaching license forever, and get prison time, but in no way should they be categorized with child pedifiles, who kidnap, rape babies and young children. Sorry, Zoltan, but these ARE men, they rape and ruin the lives of both young girls and boys. The only case I know of where a woman was involved, was poor little Christopher, who was kidnapped by neighbors, father, mother and son, tortured, sodomized, raped and murdered by these disgusting individuals. THEY should get the death penalty!! Any other women involved in such a heinous crime should also be judged under Jessica's Law!

Zoltan said...

AuntieM- I think we are on the same page.

As for a life sentence, it seems to me that term conveys a 20 year sentence and not a true life term.

If it was a true life term, there wouldn't be a need to take these extra steps.

As for the teachers currently involved with their students - There is a major problem with the sentencing and there doesn't seem to be any correlation in sentencing from one case to the next and it's a hodge podge of whatever the defense can get.

The sentencing guild lines need to be tightened.

Let's not forget Carla Homolka (although in Canada) she is a predator too. Women are involved also. We just don't hear about them as often.

Auntiem said...

"Uncle" or should I say "Aunt", yes, Zoltan, there are rare cases to be found where you will find women involved in these types of crimes, (and no, I am not male biased) but, it has been shown that serial murderers are USUALLY men and such is the case with pedifiles and rapists. Not to say that there are not heinous crimes women are capable of committing. Melanie McGuire (defended by J. Tacopina) was recently found guilty of murdering and dismembering her husband.

Not to be redundant, but I do believe that men may be genetically pre-disposed to certain crimes, and think statistics can prove this. While men may be more prone to kidnap and molest children, unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of women, mothers, disposing of their own children.
Now that I have totally depressed myself, I am going to call my precious granddaughter, and spoil her some more.