RAPE OF A LITTLE GIRL -- (House of Representatives - June 26, 2008)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. POE. Madam Speaker, she was 8 years old. She was asleep in her own room, in her bed dreaming about whatever little girls dream about. She thought she was safe in her home. Suddenly she was awakened by the demon from the night. Patrick Kennedy of Louisiana was on top of her, having his way with her, this petite little angel. Kennedy was someone the little girl supposedly could trust; after all, he was her stepfather.
This little girl was raped. So violent was the rape she fainted and the next thing she remembered she woke up in an ambulance speeding to Children's Hospital.
Official court records state, ``When police arrived, they found the victim on her bed wearing a T-shirt and wrapped in a bloody blanket. She was bleeding profusely from the vaginal area. The victim was transported to Children's Hospital. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that the victim's injuries were the most severe he had ever seen from a sexual assault in his years of practice. A laceration to the left wall of the vagina separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. The injuries required her to have emergency surgery.''
The little girl survived this attack by the barbarian and lives, even though she has been sentenced to a life of mental torture, physical pain and emotional trauma that she may not ever recover from. Her physical scars will never disappear.
The child rapist was tried under Louisiana's law that specifically allows for the death penalty for criminals that choose to rape the most innocent among us, children. The law was passed by the legislature, signed by the Governor and is the wish of the people of Louisiana. A jury of 12 citizens heard the facts and they all agreed that Kennedy should die for his decision to rape his daughter. Several other states, including Texas, have the death penalty as a possible punishment for child rapists.
This case has been reviewed by numerous courts, and has taken 5 years to reach our Supreme Court.
In a decision this week by Justice Anthony Kennedy--no relation--the Supreme Court said the Louisiana law is just too severe and overruled the will of the people of Louisiana and a unanimous jury when he imposed his own moral code saying no one can be executed under these circumstances unless the villain also kills the child, otherwise it is a violation of the cruel and unusual provision of the United States Constitution.
Although the jury was unanimous in ordering the death penalty, the Supreme Court split in its decision 5-4 with the majority siding with the evil-doer.
Justice Kennedy focused on the fact that the victim survived the assault as the reason not to execute the rapist. In other words, the defendant got a break because the little girl had the will to survive.
When I was on the trial bench in Texas, I had a rape victim once tell me that rape was a fate worse than death. In the eyes of this little girl, she probably agrees.
When the ``cruel and unusual'' phrase was put in the Constitution, it was put there and based on constitutional history to outlaw torture and maiming of criminals. As history reflects, States decided what was appropriate punishment based upon these guidelines.
The five justices who sided with the rapist don't seem to have lived in the real world or have real life experiences. They don't seem to provide justice for victims, only leniency for criminal defendants.
I spent 22 years on the felony trial bench in Texas and heard over 20,000 cases. The Constitution was the basis for every decision I made. I saw those charged with the worst acts people can commit, and I saw the brutalized victims of crime. I only mention this experience because trial judges see the world as it really is, not how we wish and hope it to be. Trial judges see real people every day.
Unfortunately, eight of our nine Supreme Court justices do not have the benefit of this experience and have never been a trial judge and seen the effects of crime on people. They have spent much of their time in elite ivory palaces as law school professors and appellate judges removed from the world, second-guessing legislatures, trial judges and juries.
I doubt if Justice Kennedy has ever been to Louisiana or talked to a rape victim or a rapist, or a jury, for that matter. Now Justice Kennedy says the verdict of death is just too cruel and unusual for us that live in a sophisticated society to allow. His ruling is a misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Justice Alito said in his dissent that the death penalty laws should be allowed for child rape ``if they reflect society's evolving standards of decency.'' The State of Louisiana set the evolving standard for child rapists in Louisiana, and said leave our children alone or face the death penalty.
Society's standard was trumped by five black-robed justices who want it their way. They are wrong.
And that's just the way it is.