Saturday, November 16, 2002


From October...better late than never...

Supreme Court Won't Review Juvenile Death Penalty

Despite a dissent by the court's four liberal justices who called the juvenile death penalty a shameful practice, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Monday an appeal challenging as unconstitutional executions of people who were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes.

Stevens wrote in dissent..."The practice of executing such offenders is a relic of the past and is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society. We should put an end to this shameful practice."

In 1988, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the executions of offenders age 15 or younger at the time of their crimes. But the high court in 1989 ruled that executions of those who commit their crimes at age 16 or 17 do not violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Stevens said that in the past 13 years, a national consensus (Ed. Note: Huh? Where? This was, of course, pre-Malvo) has emerged that juvenile offenders should not be executed, and said the Supreme Court should revisit the issue.

Currently, 38 states and the federal government have the death penalty. Sixteen states and the federal government have an age minimum of at least 18 for capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Five states have set age 17 as the minimum while the other 17 states use age 16 as the minimum age.