Some South Carolina legislators want to execute twice-convicted child molesters, says the Charlotte Observer. Experts say such a law could be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. “This is a historic moment for South Carolina to step forward and force the Supreme Court’s hand,” said Sen. David Thomas, who is supporting a bill that could make the state the second — behind Louisiana — to allow the death penalty for a crime other than murder. “We have changed as a nation since the 1970s when the court last addressed the constitutionality of capital punishment for a sex crime. It’s a horror — someone who twice rapes a young child — they deserve a death sentence.”
Robert Blecker, who teaches a course in death penalty law at New York Law School, believes the “right case” for capital punishment for a twice convicted child molester could be ruled constitutional. “A valid argument can be made for the death penalty in nonmurder cases, such as the shoe bomber who could have killed 200 people in that plane,” said Blecker. “It would have to be a particularly egregious case in which you had aggravating factors above and beyond a straightforward rape of a child that would deserve a death sentence — such as the child was also tortured or buried alive.” Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said several states, including Oklahoma and Georgia, are considering capital punishment for repeat child molesters.