JUSTICES WILL REVIEW EXECUTION OF JUVENILES

JUSTICES WILL REVIEW EXECUTION OF JUVENILES

The Supreme Court accepted for review a case from Missouri that prohibits capital punishment for a crime committed by a juvenile.

The high court in 1989 ruled in favor of the death sentence for persons aged 16 and older.

The Missouri Supreme Court set aside the capital sentence of Christopher Simmons, who at age 17 murdered a woman.

The Missouri court based its decision on the high court’s Atkins decision, which barred Virginia from executing a mentally retarded felon.

The Missouri justices said the decision on mental retardation indicated that the current justices were a body in evolution that would reject the decision of its peers from an earlier era, noting that four of the nine had specifically registered opposition to execution for the commission of crimes as a juvenile by calling it a “relic of the past.”

The Supreme Court in 1989 ruled in Stanford v. Kentucky that executing those between the ages of 16 and 18 is constitutional.

Inf.: Roper v. Simmons, 03-633.

Copyright Washington Crime News Service Feb 18, 2004

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