The debate over whether the rape of child should be a capital crime seems to be gaining increasing attention. From Time:
Dewhurst's stance made headlines and has won him kudos from national backers of Jessica's Law such as Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and John Walsh, producer of America's Most Wanted. But it also sparked the formation of an unexpected coalition of opponents, featuring some of the state's toughest prosecutors as well as victims' rights groups, both of whom worry that the measure could backfire and result in fewer convictions.
"We saw the tsunami wave coming to Texas," said Shannon Edmonds, state lobbyist for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. Last year, South Carolina adopted the death penalty for the second offense of raping a child under age 11. Oklahoma followed, passing Jessica's Law with a death penalty provision for raping a child under age 14. Texas already had some of the toughest child predator laws on the books with its two-strikes rule that sends child predators to jail for life. But the push for even harsher punishment was coming from the state leadership, rather than from the grassroots, as tightening of criminal laws often does. "Prosecutors will tell you these are the most difficult cases to get a guilty verdict on," Edmonds said. "Prosecutors lose more of these cases than any other."
While other states have passed capital child rape statutes, I think because Texas is involved this time, there is much greater attention being to the legislative debate.