Prosecutor asks for child rape rehearing

July 22, 2008 at 10:32 AM
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GRETNA, La., July 22 (UPI) -- The Jefferson Parish, La., district attorney has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its decision barring child rapists from being executed.

In his request, Paul Connick Jr. said the majority of justices overlooked a federal law that buttressed the state's case for capital punishment, The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans reported Tuesday.

The nation's highest court ruled 5-4 that executing child rapists was cruel and unusual punishment because the conviction was for a crime in which no one died. The court made the ruling in the case of Patrick Kennedy, of Harvey, La., convicted under a 1995 Louisiana law that allowed prosecutors to ask for the death penalty for child rapists.

A week after the Kennedy decision, The New York Times reported that justices overlooked a Uniform Code of Military Justice provision allowing the death penalty for child rape, attributing its information to a military law blog, the newspaper said.

Connick said in a statement his decision for a rehearing was based on Congress approving the military law in 2006.

Jelpi Picou, director of the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, which helped in Kennedy's appeal, said "the rehearing is really uncalled for."

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