Death Penalty: Gregg V. Simmons Case

810 Words 4 Pages
Death penalty on juveniles
Capital punishment has continued to elicit raging debates over the years. Inferring from the Furman v. Georgia (1972), Gregg v. Georgia (1976) and the resumption of death penalty as the retribution, the issue of innocence continues to haunt and cause contentious public debates in the United States (Foley, 2004). With regards to this, consignment of juvenile offenders to the gallows have consistently been disputed as a disproportionate punishment to minors; those below the age of 18, and thus it contradicts the evolving standards of decency, which characterizes the progress of a maturing society (Foley, 2004).
In Roper v Simmons (2005), the Supreme Court consented that consigning a minor to a death penalty is unconstitutional
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Simmons case, it was unnecessary to look into international law. However, the international law, though, it was not controlling, asserted and gave respected and significant confirmation for the Court's determination, which regarded death penalty as disproportionate punishment for offenders under 18. Looking at such facts for instance, in majority of the international countries, the legal drinking age is 16 or 18, but in U.S, the legal drinking age is 21 nationally. The U.S also considers 16–year olds legally eligible for the privilege of driving a car, and in the majority of other nations, the driving age is 18, or higher. Thus, when there are competing definitions of who is considered a minor when comparing the U.S to international standards, it renders the Supreme Court’s use of international law much weaker support for their decisions. The international law basically was relied upon because it backed up Court’s opinion, not because it was the strongest evidence in support of Court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty for both juveniles and the mentally retarded (Roper, …show more content…
the prosecutorial waiver, judicial waiver and the legislative waiver vary across the states in the degree of decision-making flexibility permitted to the courts, judicial waiver was best suited for the Roper v. Simmons case. The judicial waiver, especially discretionary is dependent on the individualized assessment of the case by a juvenile court judge to establish whether a juvenile meets the threshold waiver criteria. Judges are often objective in their use of judicial waiver. Thus, in determining controversial cases such as Roper v. Simmons, which it showed the likelihood that rehabilitative and deterrent concerns would not be attained if the juvenile court retained jurisdiction, it was imperative for the case to be waived. Typically, judges would seriously consider the offence committed, the age or maturity, and the previous history of the offender prior to waiving the juvenile to adult court. Therefore, in consideration of the three waivers, judicial waiver and the status of Roper v. Simmons’ case presupposes judges were the only ones in the best position to determine whether to waive Summons to adult

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