Individual Rights Under the United States Constitution

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1) In State v. Bethley, 685 So. 2d. 1063 (La. 1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1259 (1997), an HIV-positive defendant raped his daughter and two of her friends. The court reasoned that “given the appalling nature of the crime, the severity of the harm inflicted upon the victim, and the harm imposed on society, the death penalty is not an excessive penalty for the crime of rape when the victim is a child under the age of twelve years old.” 685 So. 2d at 1070. In Kennedy v. Louisiana 554 U.S. 407 (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Louisiana State law that had authorized the death penalty for the rape of a child, reasoning that execution was an unconstitutionally disproportionate punishment. With which case do you agree more: the Louisiana court’s decision in Bethley, or the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy? Explain your reasoning.

2) Define probable cause and explain why that concept is so important in America’s criminal justice system, particularly when law enforcement is attempting to obtain arrest/search warrants.


Answer both question in minimum of 2 paragraphs!

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