Child Rape Bill Advances

Tulsa, OK – Senate panel OKs death penalty for child rapists

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Oklahoma Legislature is pushing forward a bill to allow the death penalty for child rapists, despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that such a penalty is unconstitutional.

A Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill already approved in the House that authorizes the death penalty for anyone convicted of a second offense of raping a child age 6 or younger.

Senate author Anthony Sykes says he hopes the law might be upheld since the court makeup has changed since its 2008 ruling that a similar law in Louisiana was unconstitutional.

In that 5-4 decision, the court ruled the death penalty is restricted to murder and crimes against the state, like espionage and treason.

Legal scholars say it's unlikely the Oklahoma law would be upheld.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.