Supreme Court Ends Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Malum Prohibitum, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Supreme Court ruled today that those under 18 when they committed their crime cannot be put to death.

    Interesting facts: The peak age for property crime is 16, and the peak age for violent crime is 18. Just who do these leftists think is committing the crimes?

    News Story http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=s ... penalty_11
     
  2. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I was in the military at 17, and now we are supposed to pretend that John Lee Malvo needs coddling, because he is just a kid?
     

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    And what little angelic cherub brought this case about?

    "Justices were called on to draw an age line for executions after Missouri's highest court overturned the death sentence given to Christopher Simmons, who was 17 when he kidnapped a neighbor, hog-tied her and threw her off a bridge in 1993. Prosecutors say he planned the burglary and killing of Shirley Crook and bragged that he could get away with it because of his age."

    Now, his braggadocio will not be without foundation, will it?

    Texas currently has 29 people on death row who were under 18 at the time they committed their murders. Well, not after today, I guess.
     
  4. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Scalia, Thomas, and Rhenquist dissented, with O'Connor writing her own dissent stating a case by case approach is better. This changes Georgia law, by the way.

    The 19 states allow executions for people under age 18 are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Texas and Virginia.


    So look for slightly bolder juvenile murderers from here on out . . .
     
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Now Rhenquist and O'Connor are gone, so I don't guess this ruling is going to change even with two replacements on the bench.

    How would it anyway? It would take a state attempting to impose the death penalty on a murderer younger than 18 in the face of this earlier decision - not likely.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Zombie thread revival !

    We have to have a number somewhere, right? We can't go as low as 12 or 13, even though some pre-teens and young teens are the most evil, sadistic and selfish people you could ever have the misfortune of meeting.

    If we stopped using chronological age to determine death penalty eligibility and went instead to an individualized assessment of the mental development and maturity of the killer, a lot of adult murderers would be found to "juvenile" in their way of thinking to get put down.

    Sentences for crimes are supposed to serve four purposes, except the death penalty is supposed to serve only 3.
    Rehabilitation of the offender is NOT part of a death sentence.
    But Retribution is. Society is outraged at the crime and demands punishment of the offender.
    General Deterrence is. The people see a fellow citizen getting a severe punishment, and they may think twice about doing such a crime themselves.
    And Specific Deterrence (AKA "incapacitation) is a key goal of any prison sentence or the death penalty. That particular offender can't hurt other people while locked up, or on death row, or after he's been put to death.
    (This last one is not exactly true, because prisoners can hurt and kill other prisoners, and jail guards and staff.)

    So does putting a 17 year old down for murder serve the goals of 1.) general deterrence 2.) specific deterrence, and 3.) retribution? I think so. It fits those very well.

    But others would say that at ages 15-17, a kid's mind is still developing and they are less morally responsible for their crimes. So that would cut back the public's desire for revenge and increase their desire to see possible rehabilitation. As long as the sentence is still long enough and with enough prison time in an unpleasant environment (not a glorified summer camp for bad boys), the goal of general deterrence can be met, at least as well as you could expect any teenage boy to "learn a lesson" by seeing what happens to others. Specific deterrence is really dependent on the institution and how secure it is. Unless the kids go to a real maximum security facility, there's probably a high risk of escape. So they need to be locked up like hardcore cons for both the "punishment" and "general deterrence" and "specific deterrence" reasons.

    I've been waiting years to say this! :wink:
     
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I will tell you the same thing I told my liberal criminal justice and sociology professors - "I have no problem with that." :wink:
     
  8. Ashe

    Ashe Active Member

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    The way I see it is as a sane society there are some things we are supposed to say "These things shall not be done, and if you do them we will punish you." And punishment should be at the least uncomfortable, and cause the offender to rethink his decision. And some crimes are so abhorrent that they cry out for the death penalty, the rape and murder of a child for example. Some crimes are so horrible that a society must say "what you did was so reprehensible, that we can't in good conscious even lock you up with other criminals, so we must remove you from all aspects of our society". If people saw that there were concrete consequences to some actions, and society will come down hard and with no mercy on those that commit those crimes, then perhaps the deterrent will cause the reduction of those types of crimes.

    But what do I know.
     
  9. Puffyfish

    Puffyfish New Member

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    Even at 17 they will most likely be 27-30 before they get the needle. So this law does what? :screwy:
     
  10. cpelliott

    cpelliott New Member

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    14 year old executed in South Carolina 1944
    Fortune Ferguson was 13 when executed by Florida for rape in 1927.
    The last female executed in Kentucky was a 13 year old black girl in 1868.
    James Arcene was executed in 1885 for a crime committed at 10 years old.
    The application of the death penalty to very young defendants was almost exclusively to Black, Native American or Hispanic defendants charged with a crime against a White victim.

    Things have gone too far when a 17 year old can commit a terrible crime knowing that he won't be executed, but I don't want things going too far in the other direction either. It boggles my mind when I hear of death penalty convictions where the evidence is weak or circumstantial.

    Texas had Randall Dale Adams on death row for 12 years and he was at one time within 72 hours of execution. Withheld evidence showed he did not commit the crime. Texas executed Cameron Willingham in 2004. A review of the evidence by multiple parties including Texas has determined that there is no evidence of arson and therefore no crime. If I were on a murder case, I could vote for the death penalty. The evidence had better be rock solid though. No unverifiable jailhouse informant testimony or other weak evidence would lead me to take a life.