Roper v. Simmons: An Examination of the Supreme Courts Role Essay

2557 Words 11 Pages
Roper v. Simmons is a perfect example of the evolving role of the Supreme Court, the sources the Supreme Court used to reach the ruling in this case is quite questionable. While I agree with the Supreme Court about protecting the younger citizens of America the Supreme Court must have the law to back up their ruling. Though in this case they do not the Supreme Court used a combination of foreign policy, moral decency, and state laws as the legal foundation for this decision. None of these things are appropriate sources for deciding what is constitutional and what is not. The sources used for deciding the constitutionality of a case are the constitution and federal statues. While the case can be loosely tied in with the eighth …show more content…
Simmons had admitted to committing murder to the police. Simmons had recruited a friend to help him before the crime evening saying to the friend they would “get away with it because they were minors (Roper v. Simmons , 2004).” The premise of Simmons argument was that because he was a minor when he committed the crime that sentencing him to death was a violation of the eighth amendment cruel and unusual punishment clause. Simmons asserted that sentencing of juvenile to death was a violation of the eighth amendment because he as a minor had diminished culpability. The argument was that minors have less developed brains and therefore lack the ability to assess to consequences of their actions. Another argument asserted was that juveniles need less punishment to reform actions than adults. This argument was used to assert that juveniles needed lesser sentences otherwise the other goals of justice were superseded by the punishment factor (Roper v. Simmons , 2004). The four goals of justice are deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and retribution. Therefore rendering adult sentences on juveniles was cruel and usual punishment because the sentence was serving no purpose but retribution to the juvenile. The Supreme Court ruled that sentencing of juveniles seventeen and under to death was violation of the eighth amendment. The issue with this is that fifteen years earlier the court had ruled through Stanford v. Kentucky that capital punishment for

Related Documents