Slippery-slope. Schmippery-schmope. I will be glad to know that an asshole who kidnaps two young girls, and rapes them in his own private dungeon will face the death penalty. Planet Earth does not need a person like that using up valuable oxygen.
Death for Some Sex Offenders OK'd in S.C.
COLUMBIA, S.C., May. 31, 2006
(AP) The South Carolina House on Wednesday passed a pair of bills that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for some repeat child molesters.
Support for the package picked up steam after a man was charged with kidnapping two girls and raping them in a dungeon behind his home earlier this year.
The related measures could send to death row offenders convicted twice of raping a child younger than 11.
One bill was approved earlier by the Senate and now goes to the governor's office, but the second must go back to the Senate for reconsideration.
Opponents accused their fellow House members of casting politically favorable votes during an election year, and questioned whether capital punishment is constitutional for people who haven't killed anyone.
"I'm concerned about the emotional part of this whole issue," said state Rep. Ken Kennedy, a Democrat. "We're getting ready to do something in South Carolina that will cause us a lot of problems down the road."
In March, Kenneth Hinson of Hartsville was accused of kidnapping two 17-year-old girls and confining them in a closet-sized underground chamber. Authorities say the girls were sexually assaulted and left bound inside the room, concealed under a shed, but managed to free themselves and walk to safety.
Hinson, 47, was captured after a four-day manhunt in the woods near his home.
Under the existing law, if convicted Hinson faces a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. He was previously convicted in 1991 of raping an 11-year-old girl. No trial date has been set.
Louisiana, Florida and Montana allow the death penalty for sex crimes.
Now, if we can just remove stupid judicial officials like District Judge Kristine Cecave for letting this guy off on probation instead of giving him jail time.
Sex Offender Ruled Too Short For Jail
LINCOLN, Neb., May 26, 2006
(AP) A judge's decision to sentence a 5-foot-1 man to probation instead of prison for sexually assaulting a child has angered crime victim advocates who say the punishment sends the wrong message.
But supporters of short people say it's about time someone recognizes the unique challenges they face.
Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava issued the sentence Tuesday. She told Richard W. Thompson that his crimes deserved a long prison sentence but that he was too small to survive in a state prison.
Though he could have been sentenced to 10 years behind bars, he ended up with 10 years of probation instead. On Thursday, the state's attorney general, Jon Bruning, promised to appeal within two weeks, calling the sentence far too lenient.
"I'm concerned about the message this sends to victims and perpetrators," said Marla Sohl with the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition, adding that it shows more concern is being placed on the criminal and his safety in prison than the victim.
But Joe Mangano, secretary of the National Organization of Short Statured Adults, agreed with the judge's assessment that Thompson would face dangers while in prison because of his height.
"I'm assuming a short inmate would have a much more difficult time than a large inmate," said Mangano, who is 5 feet 4 inches tall. "It's good to see somebody looking out for someone who is a short person."
Thompson, 50, had sexual contact over a couple of months last year with a 12-year-old girl, said Sidney Police Chief Larry Cox. He was sentenced on two felony sexual assault charges.
As part of the probation, he will be electronically monitored for the first four months and was told never to be alone with someone under age 18 or date or live with a woman whose children were under 18. He was also ordered to get rid of his pornography.
Thompson's attorney, Donald Miller, had no comment on the ruling. Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub, who prosecuted the case, did not return a call seeking comment. Cecava did not return a message seeking comment.
The judge's reasoning confounded Amy Miller, legal director for the Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"I have never heard of anything like this before," she said.
No one has ever come to the ACLU to complain of height discrimination, she said. And using Thompson's height as a reason to avoid sending him to prison is surprising, because neither the U.S. nor state constitution provides protections based on physical stature, she said.
A spokesman for the prison system said Thompson's height would not put him at risk among the state's 4,400 inmates. There are protections available in prison to help inmates who feel threatened, prison spokesman Steve King said, but to his knowledge, no one has ever taken advantage of them based on fears related to their height.
"He's not the shortest guy we have in prison," King said. "We've got some short guys that are as tough as nails. We've got people from all ages, physical stature of all sizes, in general population."
State Sen. Ernie Chambers, a longtime critic of judges, said he was baffled by the sentence.
"If shortness is an excuse and protection from going to prison, short people ought to rob banks and do everything else they would wind up going to prison for," Chambers said. "We're talking here about a crime committed against a child, and shortness is not a defense."