Kennedy v. Louisiana

Kennedy v. Louisiana

554 U.S. 407 (2008)

Facts and Procedural History:

Patrick Kennedy was convicted of raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter in a Louisiana Court. He was sentenced to the death penalty and appealed based on the Eighth Amendment. Although the Louisiana Supreme Court continued the sentencing of the death penalty, agreeing with five other states that the vulnerability of children made this a necessary sentence, it was once again appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Issues Presented to the Court:

Is it considered cruel and unusual punishment to enact the death penalty on someone convicted of raping a child that did not result in the child’s death?

Outcome of the Case:

In a 5-4 decision, the Court agreed that a rape that did not end, or intend to end, in murder of the child was considered “cruel and unusual.”