Georgia’s candidates for governor are offering dueling anti-crime proposals targeting sexual predators, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor proposed the death penalty for repeat child molesters yesterday, a day after Gov. Sonny Perdue announced efforts to crack down on people who use the Internet to prey on children. Taylor said that if elected, he would introduce legislation allowing juries to sentence criminals to death after they have been convicted a second time of molesting or raping children under 14.
Yesterday marked the first time during the general election that both Perdue and Taylor have appeared at the same campaign event. Taylor, a Democrat, is hoping to unseat the Republican governor in the November election. Their race has fallen into a predictable pattern, with one candidate announcing a proposal followed by a similar one from his rival. Not coincidentally, Taylor and Perdue started running campaign ads recently, touting their positions against sexual predators who target children. Taylor said five other states have death penalty laws similar to what he proposes: South Carolina, Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. No one has been executed for a crime other then murder since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, says the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center. Critics say Taylor’s proposal would probably violate the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. They say it could encourage assailants to kill their victims – who could testify against them in court – because they would face the death penalty either way.