Juveniles and The Death Penalty Essay

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Juveniles and The Death Penalty
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One of the most controversial issues in the rights of juveniles today is addressed in the question, "Should the death penalty be applied to juveniles"? For nearly a century the juvenile courts have existed to shield the majority of juvenile offenders from the full weight of criminal law and to protect their entitled "special rights and immunities." In the case of kent vs. United states in 1996, Justice Fortas stated some of these "special rights" which include; Protection from publicity, confinement only to twenty-one years of age, no confinement with adults, and protection against the consequences of adult conviction such as the loss of civil rights, the use of adjudication against him in
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The constitutionality of the juvenile death penalty reached a settlement in 1988 in the case of Thompson v. Oklahoma when four Supreme Court Justices reached the conclusion that: persons under sixteen years of age cannot be sentenced to death (Thompson v. Oklahoma, 1988). Justice Stevens, Brennan, Marshall, and Blackmun considered these important issues as they were deliberating on the case: (1) Does a national consensus forbidding executions of juveniles exist?; (2) the extent to which the laws of other Western European nations prohibit or permit the execution of juveniles, and the opinions of " respected professional organizations;" (3) the degree to which the juveniles should be held responsible for their actions; (4) Whether the execution of juveniles contributed to the retributive or deterrent goals of punishment; and (5) Whether the small number of juveniles executed represents the "waton and freakish" application of the death penalty as condemned by Justice Stewart in Furman V. Georgia (Furman v. Georgia, 1972: 2763, Thompson v. Oklahoma, 1988: 487 U.S. 815). Following the decision, thirty eight states and the federal government created statutes authorizing the death penalty for certain forms of murder and other capital offenses ( Streib 1 of 2). Thompson v. Oklahoma held that no state within the minimum age line within its death penalty can go below the age of sixteen. Presently, fifteen states have chosen the min age of eighteen, four states have chosen…

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