Essay on Controversial Supreme Court Case Roper V. Simmons

1413 WordsJun 21, 20116 Pages
The Death Penalty is a controversial topic on its own. However, if you add the possibility of a minor receiving the death penalty it gets even more interesting. The Supreme Court case of Roper v. Simmons was a perfect example of that. Roper v. Simmons presented the Supreme Court with two questions: 1) whether or not the execution of those who were sixteen or seventeen at the time of a crime is cruel and unusual punished and 2) does is violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment. The main audience for this particular case is the general American population, and specifically affects the juvenile population. Christopher Simmons, seven months shy of his 18th birthday, planned and implemented the murder of an innocent woman.…show more content…
KENTUCKY, 492 U.S. 361 1989) The Court later ruled in Atkins v. Virginia (2002) that, “mentally retarded persons were exempt from the death penalty as well, a further sign of society’s changing standards.” (ATKINS v. VIRGINIA, 536 U.S. 320 2002) The decision in Atkins explained that due to their impairments, “it is highly unlikely that such offenders could ever deserve capital punishment.” (ATKINS v. VIRGINIA, 536 U.S. 320 2002) The reasoning in Atkins is applied to the Simmons decision. Kennedy argues that because individuals under 18 are categorically less culpable than the average criminal, they should not deserve the death penalty. Kennedy adds that there are three differences between juveniles under 18 and adult offenders. First, “juveniles often lack the maturity found in adults, a trait that is understandable among the young and adolescents are overrepresented statistically in virtually every category of reckless behavior.” (ROPER v. SIMMONS, (03-633) 543 U.S. 551 2005) The second difference is, “that they are more vulnerable to negative influences or outside pressures and this could lead to deviant behavior.” (ROPER v. SIMMONS, (03-633) 543 U.S. 551 2005) Lastly, Kennedy asserts that “the character of a juvenile is not as well formed as an adult and that personality traits in adolescents are transitory.” (ROPER v. SIMMONS, (03-633) 543 U.S. 551 2005) Moreover, because of the comparative immaturity and irresponsibility of
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