WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court justices overlooked the new military justice code when they declared there were few precedents for executing child rapists, observers say.
The high court ruled last week that implementing the death penalty for those convicted of raping a child was unconstitutional, partly because the federal law had no provisions for it, nor did the vast majority of U.S. states that allow capital punishment. Nowhere in the evidence considered by the court, however, was there a mention that such a provision is included in revisions to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The fact was disclosed over the weekend on a military blog written by Dwight Sullivan, a civilian defense lawyer handling death penalty appeals. Sullivan told the Times he was reading the Supreme Court's decision on a plane and was surprised to see no mention of the military statute.
Lawyers for the accused child rapist said they weren't aware of the military provision and the Justice Department had no comment. R. Ted Cruz, who argued the case in support of the death penalty, told the Times the chances the court would reconsider the decision were "extremely unlikely," even if the omission was pointed out.