Roper V. Simmons

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Thesis: As a result of the U.S Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 decision, the Juvenile Justice system is now vulnerable to a systematic shift towards the rehabilitative role established at its inception.

Introduction- Christopher Simmons is a cold blooded murder who was sentenced to death after the murder of Miss whoever. Sentenced to death
17 years old
Series of appeals until 2002
Atkins v. Virginia
Overturned Stanford v. Kentucky

Part 1- The first juvenile court was established in Cook County, Illinois in 1898. Initial goal was rehabilitation of juveniles, not punishment. Change to a more punitive structure in response due a increase in juvenile crime during the 1970s and 1980s. Supreme Court decided juveniles had basic due process rights in Gault case. Established balancing act between rehabilitation and protection of the Health Safety and Welfare of society.

Part 2-In deciding the execution of a juvenile is inconsistent with the 8th amendment, the U.S Supreme court uses unconventional and highly contested reasoning. The two pronged approach to 8th amendment cases

Original intent of bill of rights
Evolving moral standards of society
National Conesus standard
International law
Part 3- Although the evolving moral standards of society could have changed to view the imposition of the death penalty on a minor as cruel and unusual punishment, the reasoning behind overturning Stanford v. Kentucky is highly contested. Scillia and Reihnquist’s dissenting.

Posner’s view
Part 4- Scillia’s and Reinquist’s dissenting opinions acknowledge and foreshadow the severe consequences of the Court’s decision. Jury’s not capable of determining juvenile’s culpability Cited to rule life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional Calls into question about trying juveniles as adults for any crime

Conclusion- Despite the use of a questionable criteria, the U.S Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to sentence a minor to death. Impact on future 8th...
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