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EXECUTING JUVENILES IN THE UNITED STATES: THE SUPREME COURT CHANGES COURSE

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Abstract:

This essay looks at the case of Roper, Superintendent, Potosi Correctional Center v Simmons, in which the United States Supreme Court declared that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution forbid imposition of the death penalty on those who were under the age of eighteen at the time they committed their crimes. By a vote of 5–4, the Justices held that “evolving standards of decency” in America had reached the point where the execution of juveniles must be considered a “cruel and unusual punishment”. This essay looks at the political and legal implications of this rather remarkable case, the effect that it has had on more recent cases, and how it may shape the future of the capital punishment in the law.

Keywords: Capital Punishment; Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution; Juvenile Punishment; Potosi Correctional Center v Simmons; Roper; Superintendent

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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