Death Penalty of Juveniles

The Death Penalty and Juveniles in the United States

Uw- Platteville

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This paper shows the interworkings, arguements, and justifications of the death penalty in the united states for juveniles convicted of a crime and sentenced to death row before the age of 18. The death penalty was legal for juveniles in several states until 2005, when the supreme court ruled 5-4 to outlaw the death penalty of juveniles on the basis of the 8th amendment’s no cruel or unusual punishment. An example of the death penalty applying to a minor can be seen with the case of TJ Lane, a seventeen year old at the time of his crime, and therefore; unelligible for death row. The paper willl outline a brief overview of the laws regarding the death penalty, a synopsis of the history of the death penalty, the evidence for the arguements, and the contradictions involving juvenile death penalty.

Keywords: juveniles, death penalty

The Death Penalty and Juveniles in the United States
Capital Punishment is a controversial and highly sensitive topic in today’s modern society, whether it be regarding a legal adult or a minor individual under the age of 18 years old, it holds great regard for the law and is under many criticisms. Generally, there is a consenuos view of the death penalty being associated with the heinous crimes of only adult offenders. To the contrary, it was once legal in various states for defendants as young as 16 years old to be tried as adults and eligible to receive the death penalty as a punishment. Although the general perspective of the death penalty sways to opposition of juvenile capital punishment, the fact of the matter is that a juvenile defendants can be just as dangerous, heartless, and reckless as an 18 year old adult. When one commits a heinous crime, the age of the defendant should be thrown out as irrelevant. Evidence

A brief history of the laws surrounding the death penalty sets the tone for the rest of the paper. Prior to the supreme court decison to end the juvenile death penalty, 19 states made it illegal for a juevenile to be sentenced to the death penalty and executed. Despite this statistic, 22 juveniles were executed in modern age by the death penalty. The United States Supreme Court decided to overturn the death penalty for juvenile offenders in the 2005 case Roper v. Simmons (Streib, 2004). Thomas Graunger was the first juvenile knowningly executed by the death penalty in America. He was tried in a court and found guilty of bestiality, sexual relations with an animal, in 1642 in Plymouth Colony, MA (Hale, 1997).

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Death Penalty of Juveniles. (2016, Nov 19). Retrieved from