Alabama's Attorney General Outraged Over Supreme Court's Ruling

June 25, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Strong words from Alabama's Attorney General over a United States Supreme Court ruling. The nine justices struck down a Louisiana law that allows the death penalty for child rapists. Alabama Attorney General Troy King called the ruling "Wrong Headed."

The Supreme Court ruled five to four Louisiana's death penalty law for child rapists violates the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  King says his initial reaction was one of, "Outrage and shock."

King says, by issuing the ruling, the justice's aren't being faithful to the constitution or the oath they swore to uphold it saying, "They seem to have become confused as to what their role is. We didn't hire the U.S. Supreme Court to apply the standards or other countries, or the United Nations."

King has been trying to get an Alabama law passed that would make people convicted twice of raping a child eligible for the death penalty. He says there's no need to continue pushing the legislation with the current make-up of the supreme court. "No matter how many times this person rapes a child, the supreme court has created a loop hole in the law to allow those people to escape punishment," says King.

He believes the decision will lead to more children being raped. "What a rapist would take away from a girl, is as precious as her life. To let them escape a death sentence, is wrong," adds King.

King says the ruling puts the interest of criminals above the interests of victims. He says, "It is bad law and bad precedent."

King says it makes the work of those who fight to protect young rape victims less effective. "Try kneeling down by a little girl who has been raped and telling her the man who did it didn't commit the most despicable crime there is," he says.

The Supreme Court's decision today might also affect laws in Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas where repeat child rapists can be sentenced to death.