Gov. Matt Blunt said he was disappointed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that outlawed the death penalty for child rapists.
"I am extremely disappointed in the Court’s decision not to allow the most serious punishment, both as a matter of justice and deterrence to protect our children from vile sexual predators," Blunt said in a statement.
Blunt pushed for legislation that would have allowed a Missouri prosecutor to seek the death penalty in cases of forcible rape and forcible sodomy when the victim is younger than 12-years old.
The Governor and 28 members of the General Assembly filed an amici curiae, or “friends of the court” brief in March, asking the court to clarify previous rulings that the Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the death penalty for child rapists. The brief also argued that the court should not preclude a national debate on this issue and allow states to form a consensus.
"Violent sex crimes against children are among the worst crimes that any criminal could commit. Child predators attack the innocent and defenseless, and the pain they inflict is permanent - in many cases physically and in all cases emotionally," Blunt said.
Republican Attorney General candidate Mike Gibbons also expressed dismay at the 5-4 ruling on a Louisiana case.
Gibbons said he supported Justice Samuel Alito's dissent that in part stated: "The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapists is grave. It is the judgment of the Louisiana lawmakers and those in an increasing number of other states that these harms justify the death penalty."
"I am disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision but I will enforce the tough laws we passed to protect our children from sexual predators as the next attorney general of Missouri," Gibbons said in a statement. "We will lock the door and throw away the key on those vermin that prey on our children as well as focus on prevention to make sure our kids are never hurt in the first place."