OKLAHOMA. LAW ALLOWS EXECUTION OF REPEAT CHILD MOLESTERS
June 9, 2006: Oklahoma became the fifth state to allow the death penalty for certain sex crimes although legal scholars questioned the constitutionality of the new state law.
Under the measure signed by Gov. Brad Henry, anyone convicted twice for rape, sodomy or lewd molestation involving children under 14 can face the death penalty.
South Carolina's governor signed a similar law on June 8 allowing the death penalty for offenders convicted twice of raping children younger than 11. Louisiana, Florida and Montana also allow the death penalty for certain sex crimes.
Defense attorneys and death penalty experts said the laws defy recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have scaled back the death penalty's application.
Barbara Bergman, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the court's decisions have made it clear that the death penalty is reserved for someone who has taken another life. (Sources: Ap, 10/06/2006)