Roper Vs Hammons Essay

853 Words 4 Pages
In the Supreme Court case, Roper v Simmons, the justices argued at what age does a person become culpable for their crimes and should receive adult punishments. The respondent, Christopher Simmons, was 17 years old when he and a friend broke into a woman’s home, robbed and tortured her, then killed her by throwing her off a bridge. After being convicted of the crime, Simmons was sentenced to the death penalty, which he eventually revoked. When the case made it to the Supreme Court in 2004, the court came to a 5-4 ruling that executing minors was “cruel and unusual” punishment, thus violating the Constitution (Roper). This case overruled the 1989 case, Stanford v. Kentucky, which previously decided that capital punishment on capital offenders below the age of 18 was not cruel or unusual (Stanford). …show more content…
Virginia case, different benchmarks that prove adulthood, and opinion of the public. The justices properly decided this case because of how closely they paid attention to detail and the implications of the ruling. One important factor was that between 1973 and February 2005 when the case was decided, only 22 juveniles had been executed (Woo). This statistic illustrates the evolving public opinion that the government can’t execute children due to moral implications. The Atkins v. Virginia case established that people who are mentally insane are unable to receive the death penalty because they are unable to understand their actions and punishment (Atkins). The Supreme Court made the right decision in deeming juvenile death penalty unconstitutional because it would be unacceptable to leave the decision in state’s hands. If juries were placed in a position to decide whether or not a juvenile should be served the death penalty, it would be hard for them to separate mitigating evidence such as their undeveloped minds from the fact that he or she committed an appalling

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