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The Case Roper v. Simmons: Concept of National Consensus About Juvenile Death Penalty

Introduction

In the modern democratic world, the notion of human rights and freedoms is fundamental. There is no law or regulation that allows one person to deprive another person of life. There are different forms of murders – self-defense murder, unintentional, and premeditated murder. Unintentional murders are punished with imprisonment for a number of years, whereas premeditated murders are sentenced to life imprisonment. Those who have been convicted of the first-degree murder for its severity and cruelty are imposed on death penalty. Different countries have different attitudes towards capital punishment since it is considered to be the direct violation of human rights. However, some countries still execute death sentences to first-degree murders; the USA is one of them. Although capital punishment is not legally adopted in all the states, there is sound evidence of death penalty execution on the US territory.

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Within past twenty years, there have been active discussions and disputes dedicated to the issue of executing mentally retarded people and juvenile offenders. The opposition of the death penalty has argued that both kinds of offenders cannot be executes since they are mentally immature, impulsive, and vulnerable to negative influences. Thus, neither mentally retarded nor juvenile offenders may be responsible for the action they took under the age of eighteen. Protagonists of the capital punishment have claimed that since juveniles are competent in school advancement, abortion, part-time work, they are eligible to be executed. There are a number of international convention and regulation the provisions of which are against this form of punishment. The most famous and valuable document in this filed is the conventions and law of the United Nations. The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child ensures the observance of child’s rights – civil, social, political, etc. to the fullest extent until a child reaches the age of eighteen.

The aim of this work is to investigate the case of the national consensus concerning the issue of juvenile death penalty on the example of the case Roper v. Simmons. Simmons’s defense was based on former cases pertaining to executing mentally retarded and juvenile offenders. Thus, it is considerable to study these cases to get the clear vision of the national opinion ruling at the time of Simmons’s trial. In that case, the Court performed its own interpretation of the Eighth Amendment that played the decisive role. Therefore, it reasonable to study the concept of national consensus about juvenile death penalty, and to identify whether the Court is eligible to apply own judgment. For the sake of it, one will also investigate the opinion of the opposition to the decision of the case Roper v. Simmons.

Roper v. Simmons Case Overview

The case Roper v. Simmons concerns the premeditated murder of a woman committed at the age of 17 in 1993 by Christopher Simmons. The murder was planned by Simmons to be performed together with two younger boys; as a result, one of them dropped out. Simmons and his assistant went into the woman’s house as it was burglary, tied her, and threw from the bridge. Simmons did not conceal his complicity to the capital murder; on the contrary, he praised himself with the crime. When the police officers arrested Simmons, he confessed to the murder and provided a videotaped reenactment of it. Simmons was charged with kidnapping, burglary, stealing, and a first-degree murder. Since Simmons was outside the criminal jurisdiction of the juvenile court system of State Missouri, he was sentenced to death at the age of 18.

After the sentence imposition, Simmons hired another counsel who moved in the trial court to cancel the conviction on the grounds of Simmons’ immature condition and ineffective former counsel at trial. A group of clinical psychologists and Simmons’ neighbors and friend supported the idea of his immaturity, impulsiveness, and vulnerability to manipulation and influence. Moreover, it was testified that Simmons had poor background of difficult home environment and poor performance at school. However, the Supreme Court of Missouri denied Simmons’ appeal on the grounds that there had been no constitutional violations of his rights. Having taken cases Atkins v. Virginia and Stanford v. Kentucky, Simmons filed a new petition on the grounds that the US Constitution prohibits death sentence to those who committed crime under the age of 18.

The Supreme Court of Missouri studied Simmons petition and declared that

a national consensus has developed against the execution of juvenile offenders, as demonstrated by the fact that eighteen states now bar such executions for juveniles, that twelve other states bar executions altogether, that no state has lowered its age of execution below eighteen since Stanford, that five states have legislatively or by case law raised or established the minimum age of eighteen, and that the imposition of the juvenile death penalty has become truly unusual over the last decade.

Hence, the Missouri Supreme Court exchanged death sentence to life imprisonment without parole. After the State of Missouri announced the decision, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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The Supreme Court of the USA represented by Justice Kennedy affirmed the decision of the Supreme Court of Missouri in a five-to-four decision claiming that death penalty to individuals who were under eighteen years old at the moment they committed capital crimes is considered cruel and unusual punishment by the Eight Amendment. Therefore, this decision overturned the case Stanford v. Kentucky that had held that the execution of individuals who had committed crimes at sixteen- and seventeen-year ages did not violate the evolving standards of decency and did not constitute to any provisions of the Eighth Amendment. Justice Kennedy provided explanation of the Eighth Amendment that it “guarantees individuals the right not to be subjected to excessive sanctions”; the basis of this right is “precept of justice that punishment should be graduated and proportioned to [the] offense.” Hence, this guarantee “reaffirms the duty of the government to respect the dignity of all persons.”

The case Roper v. Simmons aroused a number of public discussions and disputes. On the one hand, the Supreme Court referred to national consensus about the evolving standards of decency; on the other hand, there had been several interpretations of the Eighth Amendment. Thus, the recent case Atkins v. Virginia held the prohibition of capital execution of mentally retarded. However, the former case Penry v. Lynaugh had held the decision that mentally retarded could be executed since there was no national consensus barring such executions. In respond, Justice Kennedy declared the right of the Supreme Court to make an independent judgment to question the acceptability of the capital punishment under the Eighth Amendment. In Addition, Justice Kennedy referred to the 37th Article of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The investigation of death penalty issue concerning mentally retarded and juveniles across the country revealed that 36% of states prohibited execution in cases like Atkins v. Virginia, whereas only 10% of states did so in the case Roper v. Simmons. However, the majority considered that the change in laws of five states (10 %) was enough to indicate a new national consensus applying society’s new standards of decency pertaining to the juvenile capital punishment. The public opinion was also influenced by the fact that since the case Stanford v. Kentucky twelve states had prohibited death penalty sentence for juveniles under eighteen-year age, and five states had prohibited this punishment to those under seventeen-year age.

Moreover, the majority analyzed the issue of juvenile death penalty and distinguished three reasons based on sociological and psychological studies of its prohibition. Firstly, juveniles experience lack of maturity and possess underdeveloped sense of responsibility that results in ill-considered decisions and actions. Secondly, juveniles are more vulnerable to negative effects and influences that determine their behavior and actions. Thirdly, juvenile character is not completely formed, thus the personality traits are more transitory. Hence, the public affirmed the necessity to draw a categorical line at the age of eighteen as the line between childhood and adulthood with corresponding responsibilities. The national consensus supported the decision of the US Supreme Court delivered by Justice Kennedy joined by Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer. Nevertheless, Scalia and O’Connor filed a dissenting opinion joined by Thomas and Rehnquist.

US Constitution and the Eighth Amendment

Since the main basis of the Supreme Court decision on the case Roper v. Simmons was the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, it is considerable to study it in detail. The direct text of the Eighth Amendment is the following “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.” However, Justice Kennedy emphasized that the Eighth Amendment forbids the imposition of the capital punishment on offenders who were under eighteen-year age at the time of crime commitment. Thus, the text of the amendment was interpreted regarding tradition, history, and precedent. The Court implemented this legal framework through referring to the evolving standards of decency that reflect a maturing process of the modern society. There is a waving tendency of the Supreme Court’s reflection of its own judgment concerning death penalty.

While the decision on Thompson v. Oklahoma held the prohibition of capital punishment to individuals under sixteen, in case of Stanford v. Kentucky, the national consensus decided that the Court could not reveal its own judgment about the acceptability of the juvenile death penalty regarding the Eighth Amendment. In addition, in the case Penry v. Lynaugh, the Court held that the Eighth Amendment did not prohibit capital punishment of mentally retarded people. Nevertheless, in the case Atkins v. Virginia, it was announced that the evolving standards of decency did not allow executing the death sentence to mentally retarded individuals. Hence, both objective indicia of the national consensus and the Court’s own judgment and interpretation of the Eighth Amendment demonstrated that the death sentence is a disproportionate punishment for juveniles under eighteen.

Though the Court also referred to the Fourteenth Amendment as a legal predictor of death penalty in the case Roper v. Simmons, it concluded that neither the Eighth nor the Fourteenth Amendments proscribe the execution of the capital punishment of individuals who were over fifteen but under eighteen in the case Stanford v. Kentucky. Moreover, while the international attitude towards death penalty is not a controlling factor in the US legislation, the Court referred to the international conventions that considered capital punishments as a disproportionate punishment for individuals under eighteen. Therefore, the international opinion influenced on the decision of the case Roper v. Simmons in some way.

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UN Convention of the Rights of the Child

There is a variety of conventions and regulations concerning human rights and freedoms, it is more considerable to investigate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child since this work discusses issues pertaining to the imposition of death penalty on juveniles. The Convention is an international instrument incorporating the entire scope of human rights – civil, economic, social, cultural, and political rights. Article 37 ensures absence of torture, deprivation of liberty, and degrading treatment towards children. It states that no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.

The article also prohibits unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of child liberty. In addition, the article sets conditions for any legal punishments like arrest, imprisonment, or detection applied to the child. These punishments shall be done in conformity with the law; moreover, any deprivation of liberty should be used only as a measure of last resort and performed for the shortest possible time. Article 39 of the Convention even expands the rights of the child for liberty.

“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts.

Other articles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child ensure child’s safety and inviolability to the highest possible extent. Under the child, the Convention determines any individual under the age of eighteen. However, it is considerable to take into consideration that juveniles are responsible for their school grades; they already enjoy their rights and freedoms. Thus, why the society should treat teenagers as children and leave their crimes unpunished. Probably, it is reasonable to treat juveniles as adults when they enjoy the same rights as grown-ups and act illegally as some adults. A teenager who intentionally deprives another person from life must understand ethical and legal sides of the action and be responsible for it.

Thompson v. Oklahoma

In the case Roper v. Simmons, the jury referred to the former cases concerning death penalty sentences imposed to juveniles, notably Thompson v. Oklahoma and Stanford v. Kentucky. The case of Thompson v. Oklahoma was the first one after the moratorium on capital punishment as a cruel and unusual punishment. Thompson together with three other men kidnapped the husband of his sister and killed him. Thomson was fifteen years old when he committed his crime; however, he was tried as a grown-up, found guilty for a murder, and sentences to death. After Thompson was arrested, his mental condition was evaluated by psychiatrists who determined that he was eligible to be tried as an adult. Thompson was convicted and imposed with the capital punishment by the jury of Oklahoma trial. After the petition, the case went to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

The first appeal of Thompson’s attorney concerned the inappropriateness of photos used during the trial since they had provoked the jury. After proper investigation, two photos were excluded; however, the decision was not reconsidered. The second appeal was filed to the Supreme Court of the USA and claimed unconstitutional nature of the execution of a juvenile under the Eighth Amendment. The Court also took into account the evolving standards of decency in the then society. The result of the investigation became five-to-three decision in favor of Thompson. The Court’s decision was delivered by Stevens joined while Justice Scalia filed the dissenting opinion. Justice Kennedy did not take part in that case. Hence, the execution of the death punishment was prohibited to be imposed on juveniles under the age of fifteen.

Stanford v. Kentucky

Another infamous case pertaining to the issue of disproportionality of the capital sentence for juveniles was the case Stanford v. Kentucky. The case involved Stanford shooting a twenty-year old woman when he was seventeen. Moreover, it became known that the offensive actions taken towards the dead woman had a long history. This fact and the way the woman was killed (into the face and then in the head from the back), Kentucky juvenile trial decided to try Stanford as a grown-up. As a result, Stanford was convicted and sentenced to death and 45-year imprisonment. Despite Stanford’s appeals to the violation of his constitutional rights to treatment, Kentucky Supreme Court delivered capital punishment. In addition, it was claimed that “age and the possibility that he might be rehabilitated were mitigating factors appropriately left to the consideration of the jury that tried him.”

Many religious organizations like the American Baptist Church, West Virginia Council of Churches, and the Child Welfare League of America conducted oral arguments to support the rehearing process of the Thompson’s case. On the contrary, attorney of other states sent their affirmation of the Kentucky Supreme Court decision. Both cases of brief were considered by the American Bar Association, International Human Rights Group, American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, and Amnesty International before the case went to the investigation of the Supreme Court of the USA. The arguments in defense of Thompson referred to the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution since the imposition of death penalty on offenders who had been under eighteen at the time of crime commitment was a cruel punishment.

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Despite a variety of defensive disputes and arguments, the Supreme Court of the USA affirmed the decision of Kentucky Supreme Court on the case Thompson v. Kentucky. The majority of the jury headed by Justice Scalia denied the petition that capital sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. In his speech, Scalia referred to the Bill of Rights that set the incapacity of a person under fourteen to commit a felony. Since Thompson was over seventeen at the moment of murder commitment, he was unable to call for the evolving standards of decency. In addition, Scalia claimed that the Eighth Amendment had no mandate that forbade the imposition of capital punishment on those over fifteen. “We discern neither a historical nor a modern consensus forbidding the imposition of capital punishment on any person who murders at 16 or 17 years of age. Accordingly, we conclude that such punishment does not offend the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.” Justice Brennan filed dissert joined by Marshall, Stevens, and Blackmun.

Penry v. Lynaugh

The petition filed by Simmons also included references to cases when mentally retarded offenders had been considered ineligible to be sentenced to death. Basing on the immaturity experienced by juveniles, Simmons emphasized his incapability to bear responsibility for the committed murders to the fullest extent. The cases mentioned in the case Roper v. Simmons, were Penry v. Lynaugh and Atkins v. Virginia. The case Penry v. Lynaugh finished with death penalty affirmed by the decision of Texas Supreme Court. Though Penry was testified by psychologists and found mentally retarded with the mental age of a six-year old, he was considered to stand the trial. The testimony performed by psychiatrists showed that Penry suffered from moderate retardation and organic brain damage that resulted in his inability to learn from experience and poor impulse control.

There was also sound evidence that Penry had been abused when he was a child. Hence, the state announced Penry as legally sane though it was admitted that he had antisocial personality. The jury rejected consideration of Penry’s insanity defense, convicted him, and sentenced to death. Although Penry requested investigation of mitigating circumstances, the trial court denied his appeals. The reference to the Eighth Amendment and cruel nature of death penalty imposed on mentally retarded was rejected by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Both the Court of Appeals and the federal District Court affirmed capital sentence; nevertheless, it was considered to study Penry’s claims concerning his mental retardation and abuses during his childhood.

In spite of the evolving standards of decency, the case Penry v. Lynaugh became the exception of the rules. It was considered that the Eighth Amendment did not forbid imposing death penalty on every mentally retarded person, and not all mentally retarded people are virtues of their personal diseases. Moreover, the issue of ‘mental age’ was suggested as an insufficient factor to a categorical rule of the Eighth Amendment. This concept of ‘mental age’ is imprecise and does not evaluate personal abilities and experiences. Hence, the decision of capital punishment imposing on Penry was affirmed.

Atkins v. Virginia

The decision on case Atkins v. Virginia announced that executing mentally retarded people is a violation of the Eighth Amendment. The case involved eighteen-year old Atkins who together with his friend killed a man through shooting him eight times. The murder was captured by the ATM camera when the crime took place. After the arrest, both of the offenders blamed each other; however, the version of events provided by Atkins was considered to contain numerous inconsistences. Atkins’s assistant was negotiated to give a testimony against Atkins in exchange for life imprisonment. Hence, the version of the latter was taken as the credible and coherent one, and Atkins was sentenced to death. During the trial, Atkins attorney provided his school records and results of the IQ test that proved his mental retardation. Despite this mitigating circumstance, Atkins was convicted of capital punishment.

As a result of rehearing Atkins’ s case in Virginia Supreme Court, death sentence was upheld. Basing on the decision of the Supreme Court on the case Penry v. Lynaugh, Virginia Supreme Court affirmed death penalty to mentally retarded Atkins. Since there had been a shift in legislative judgments of different states within thirteen years after the case of Penry, the Supreme Court of the USA decided to review the case Atkins v. Virginia. The Court stated that the Eighth Amendment forbids unusual and cruel punishments. In terms of evolving standards of decency in the contemporary society, this amendment should be interpreted as a predictor of executing mentally retarded. It was also claimed that mentally retarded people are not able to establish sophisticated communication in comparison with average people; thus, this inability should be interpreted as a remorse lack for their crimes.

Both Justices Scalia and Rehnquist declared that there was no confirmation of the national consensus pertaining to the execution of mentally retarded. However, the Supreme Court, in the reference to the Eighth Amendment, denied death sentence of Atkins as a cruel punishment. In 2005, Virginia court announced that Atkins was sane and his low school mark had been cause by the usage of alcohol and drugs, and sentenced him to death. Thought the execution was set for the December 2, it was later stayed. The case Atkins v. Virginia arouse public response until in 2009, the Supreme Court declared that there is no way to overturn court’s decision concerning the cancellation of Atkins’s execution.

O’Connor’s and Scalia’s Opposition

Though in case Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court based its decision on the former case Atkins v. Virginia and the evolving standards of decency since the case Stanford v. Kentucky, the minority filed dissenting opinions. The case of Simmons aroused numerous public discussions, disputes, and arguments. Thus, it is reasonable to consider the concerns of opposition represented by Justices Scalia, O’Connor, Rehnquist, and Thomas. Justice O’Connor was the first one to express disagreement with the Supreme Court’s decision. Though O’Connor agreed with legal framework of the principles of the Eighth Amendment, she denied the way the Court interpreted them in that particular case Roper v. Simmons. O’Conner claimed that ‘neither the objective evidence of contemporary societal values, nor the Court’s moral proportionality analysis, nor the two in tandem suffice to justify this ruling.”

O’Conner also questioned the existence of the national consensus in that case. She emphasized that eight states recognized the eligibility of death sentence to offenders at the age of sixteen and seventeen. Despite unclear national consensus, O’Connor declared that the Court’s independent proportionality analysis became the decisive factor for the case. Therefore, O’Connor claimed that the proportionality argument against the juvenile death penalty is so flawed that is can be given little, if any, analytical weight – it proves too weak to resolve the lingering ambiguities in the objective evidence of legislative consensus or to justify the Court’s categorical rule.

In her argument, O’Connor recognized the lack of maturity, responsibility, and mental formation with juveniles; nevertheless, she indicated the weakness of these differences between adults and juveniles to support the rule that individuals at sixteen and seventeen are not morally accountable for their actions.

Justice Scalia filed his own dissenting opinion joined by Rehnquist and Thomas. At first, Scalia criticized the national consensus and the concept of evolving standard of decency in the modern society. Scalia also questioned the reference to the majority in the national consensus where only 42% of all states executing death penalty were against imposing capital punishment on juveniles. Scalia explained that former cases had required overwhelming opposition to challenge the adopted practice; in case of Roper v. Simmons, 42% presented by eighteen states became the majority. Scalia argued that the view of the states prohibiting death penalty could not be considered on the issue of juvenile capital punishment. “That [twelve] States favor no executions say something about consensus against the death penalty, but nothing – absolutely nothing – about consensus that offenders under [eighteen] deserve special immunity from such a penalty.”

Afterwards, Scalia attacked the concept of national consensus through noting that only for states changed their legislation since the case of Stanford, whereas sixteen states did such a buildup after the case of Atkins. Moreover, Scalia claimed that such anti-death penalty states as Virginia and Missouri set the age of sixteen as eligible for capital punishment; this initiative was supported by Arizona and Florida. In addition, Scalia mentioned that infrequency of juvenile executions in comparison with adult ones seems as the decline in death sentences imposed on juveniles. Nevertheless, the number of juvenile offenders convicted of capital murder had only increased. Hence, Scalia confirmed that there was no evidence of national consensus against juvenile death penalty.

Apart from this, Scalia criticized the independent judgment executed by the Court on the bases of the case of Stanford. Thus, the Court performed its own judgment about the proportionality of the punishment. Scalia declared that the application of independent judicial review was impossible for the Court since its reference to the Eighth Amendment may become “an ever-changing reflection of the ‘evolving standards of decency’… it makes no sense for the Justices then to prescribe those standards rather than discern them from the practices of our people.” Scalia also emphasized that juvenile offenders could not be considered incapable to respond for the murder under the age of eighteen since they are not allowed to such significant decisions and voting and marrying. Scalia claimed that the basic understanding that it is wrong to kill another person is less sophisticated that decision making on the issues of serving on a jury or getting married. In support of this idea, Scalia stated that juveniles are competent to make such moral decisions as abortion; thus, they are definitely able to recognize the wrong nature of murder.

Conclusion

Though the priority of the legislation of any country is to observe the rights and freedoms of any humans, there is evidence that many people believe that they are eligible to deprive others from lives. Murder is considered one of the severest perpetrations; premeditated murders are taken as first degree murders and punished with life imprisonment of death sentences in countries where capital punishment is adopted. In the USA, some states have abolished death penalty or set the age at which offenders may be executed. However, there is no law or regulation precisely determining the cases of death penalty prohibition. Within the past twenty years, cases of death penalty aroused the issue of acceptability and proportionality of capital punishment for mentally retarded and juvenile offenders. The main basis of this opposition has been the principles of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

The decision of the case Roper v. Simmons established the rule that juveniles cannot be sentenced to death if they were under eighteen years old at the time they committed the crime. Though Simmons planned his murder of an innocent woman to prove that his crime falls under juvenile legislation and thus, no severe punishment may be applied to him. However, Simmons was convicted and sentenced to death. In his petition, Simmons referred to the provisions of the Eighth Amendment. In addition, he emphasized his immaturity, poor family background, and vulnerability to negative effects. Simmons’s appeal to mental condition was based on the case Atkins v. Virginia where 18-year old Atkins was convicted of a murder and sentenced to death. Nevertheless, after psychological testimony, the case went to the Supreme Court that considered mental retardation of Atkins as a mitigating circumstance. Moreover, the Court claimed that since the case of Penry v. Lynaugh when a mentally retarded was executed, the standards of decency have evolved in the contemporary society. Atkins’s death sentence was cancelled.

The decision on Roper v. Simmons was also based on the evolving standards of decency and the case of Atkins. The Court also considered the case Thompson v. Oklahoma when it was established that juveniles under fifteen could not be executed. On the basis of this fact, reference to the Article 37 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and own interpretation of the Eighth Amendment, the Court overturned capital punishment decision on the case Roper v. Simmons. The opposition represented by O’Connor, Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas filed dissenting opinion. The main arguments of the opposition were the poor evidence of national consensus against juvenile death penalty, performance of the Court’s own judgment, and the ability of juveniles to understand illegality of murder. After the detailed investigation of the case Roper v. Simmons and other related cases, one considers it reasonable to make a conclusion.

Life is a fundamental right of the person; no one is eligible to deprive another one from life. Therefore, murders should be severely punished, especially premeditated murders. If a juvenile is considered to be an adult in the society and enjoys the scope of human rights and freedoms, he or she is responsible for actions taken. Therefore, when a juvenile is considered to be competent in making morale decisions on the issues of career choice, abortion, drugs, he or she is capable to understand the severity of murder and its wrong nature. Under US legislation, a first degree murder should be sentenced to life imprisonment or death penalty with no regard for the age. Thus, public opinion should not influence the decision of the court since there is the Constitution that is developed to determine legal actions under such circumstances. Furthermore, the Court should base its decisions on the provisions of the legislation and Constitution, but not on its own interpretation or judgment of some legal principles. Therefore, though there is special attitude towards children and youth in society, if a child or a teenager commits such a severe crime, the corresponding punishment should take place.

References

Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002).

Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989).

Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).

SCALIA, J., dissenting Supreme Court of the United States, No. 03-633 (2005).

Stanford v. Kentucky, 492 U.S. 361 (1989).

Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815 (1998).

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Sep 2, 1990, UNICEF. U.S. Const., amen. VIII.

WAYNE MYERS. Roper v. Simmons: The Collision of National Consensus and Proportionality Review, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 96, Iss. 3, 947-994 (2006).

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