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Latest News: Amicus Curiae Activity

Roper v. Simmons

Monday, July 19, 2004  
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Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Topic: Execution of minors as cruel and unusual punishment


Applying the death penalty to individuals who commit crimes while under the age of 18 constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. First, legal restrictions on the rights and responsibilities of youth demonstrate that the execution of minors under the age of eighteen at the time of the offense fails to serve any retributive purpose under the 8th amendment. As in Atkins, the legislative trend to abolish the juvenile death penalty is a compelling statement of society's attitudes toward executing youthful offenders, especially given the widespread adoption of laws allowing juvenile to be tried in adult court during this same time period. Additionally research since Stanford demonstrates that the deterrent rationale for capital punishment is not met by imposing it on youth under 18. Finally, juveniles, like the mentally challenged, are more prone to confessing to crimes they did not commit.

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