The Constitutionality Of The Death Penalty

1270 Words Nov 28th, 2014 6 Pages
The constitutionality of the death penalty has been a heated topic of discussion for decades. The history of the death penalty in the United States is extensive; from a suspension to a reinstating and individual statutes throughout the 50 states. One of the most controversial of the Supreme Court cases involving the death penalty is Roper v. Simmons. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the execution of people who were under 18 at the time of their crimes violates the federal constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishments. In making its decision, the Court considered both the emerging national consensus and psychological organizations citing new evidence of delayed brain maturation that impacts culpability (define this word) determinations for juveniles (Myers, 2006). Predictably, the Court’s ruling has caused copious debate over the last several years.
Roper v. Simmons: Background In 1993, seventeen-year-old Christopher Simmons was arrested for the first-degree murder of Shirley Cook. Simmons, along with an accomplice, broke into Cook’s home, tied her up, and transported her to a river where he threw her off a bridge to her death. The teenager was sentenced to death in 1994. Ten years later, he challenged his death sentence after news of the Atkins v. Virginia ruling. In Atkins v. Virginia, the Court ruled that the execution of mentally retarded persons is cruel and unusual punishment because such persons lack the mental capability to be held fully…

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