The Supreme Court today struck down Louisiana’s law allowing courts to sentence convicted child-rapists to death. The facts of the case are horrific: the rapist whose death sentence was overturned today caused severe, agonizing injuries to a little girl in the course of raping her. The dissenting justices’ opinion disagreeing with this egregious act of judicial activism is described as logically strong and “pretty devastating” even by a law professor who formerly served as a law clerk to the very Supreme Court Justice who wrote today’s decision. Matthew Franck comments on the sanctimony and dishonest, disingenuous reasoning the Court employed to strike down the Louisiana law.
Dr. Stephen P. Klein, a statistical expert frequently hired by liberal groups like the ACLU to testify in educational cases, studied the death penalty looking for systemic racial bias against minority defendants in capital cases (He was the expert whose testimony gave rise to the California Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Serrano v. Priest; and he criticized George Bush’s record as governor of Texas on education). But after applying rigorous statistical analysis, he didn’t find any, much to his surprise. What he found instead is that people sentenced to death are generally nighmarishly evil. The facts of their crimes were so disturbing that he ended up experiencing nightmares himself.
While politically-correct Hollywood types with no knowledge of the criminal justice system (like the producers of L.A. Law) stupidly depict death-row inmates as saintly victims, the truth is that they’re generally the worst of the worst. And as commentators like Jeffrey Sedgwick, director of the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, and George Will note, deterrence and incapacitation work, and tough sentences are essential in fighting crime. Or as Midrash says, he who is kind to the cruel is cruel to the kind.