Juvenile and the Death Penalty

1817 Words8 Pages
Shayla S. Burris
Dr. Ankerberg
March 6, 2007
Essay #2

Juveniles and the Death Penalty

Today, minors are using their age as a shield against capital punishment. Adolescents believe that since they are not eighteen they will not be punished for the crimes they commit. The death penalty is appropriate for juveniles in certain circumstances, such as murder and brutal crimes that are considered capital offenses. The rate at which the death penalty is carried out, as well as inconstancies in sentencing does not make it a deterrent. There should not be an age limit in all capital offenses for those who could face the death penalty. Adolescents should know what he or she are doing is wrong, and is a crime. An age limits does
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The vote was 5-3, Justice Kentucky not participating, and the fifth vote was cast by Justice O 'Connor, who concurred only because Oklahoma capital punishment law specified no minimum age. In Stanford, O 'Connor and Kennedy supported the death penalty for defendants who were 16 or 17 years old at the time of the crime, and the four justices who had written the lead opinion in Thompson dissented" (Latzer, Barry). Since juveniles are beginning to get more violent in their acts, should the age be lowered? If a look is taken at the juvenile criminal statistics today and compare to twenty years ago, a dramatic decrease would be seen in violent crime and an increased use of death penalty sentences. For example, Professor Victor Strieb stated juveniles are one to two percent of all people on death row in the United States. Throughout the history of juveniles sentenced to death, the rate has been steady because it has fluctuated more than five percent. The history of the death penalty for juveniles began around 1642 with the execution of Thomas Graunger. "Thomas Graunger was executed in Plymouth Colony Massachusetts for a crime he committed when he was sixteen years old. He was the first recorded juvenile in what for offenses committed under the age of eighteen" (Randa, Laura E.). There were 343 executions of juveniles before the Supreme Court repealed the death penalty. Therefore, what keeps the juvenile from assuming the responsibilities for his

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