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6-7-06- A bill to allow the death penalty for repeat child molesters is expected to be signed into law by Governor Henry this week. It was authored by Durant lawmaker Jay Paul Gumm.
But defense attorneys and death penalty experts say the proposal
will never pass the test of constitutionality.
Law professor David Brook at Washington and Lee University in
Virginia says such a law is "dead on arrival" constitutionally.
And New Jersey criminal defense lawyer William Buckman says the
US Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the death penalty is
allowable only for heinous killings that include aggravating
The proposal by Senator Jay Paul Gumm allows for the death
penalty or life in prison for anyone convicted of a second sex
offense against a child under 14. Similar laws are in place in
Florida, Louisiana and Montana and another is pending in South
But no one convicted of a sex offense has been executed since
the death penalty was reinstated 30 years ago.
And in 1977 the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty of a
Georgia man convicted of raping an adult woman saying the penalty
was excessive for someone who didn't kill.