Death Penalty For Juveniles Essays

The Death Penalty And Juveniles Essay

The Death Penalty and Juveniles

The death penalty is an extremely heated debate, and many people are very emotional when taking about the issue. Organizations have been formed that support both sides of the argument and have tried over the years, through lobbyists, to sway the opinions of congressional leaders to take their side on the issue. Even more heated than the debate of the conventional use of the death penalty is the use of the death penalty on juveniles. Many think that juveniles possess the mental capacity to knowingly commit a crime and know the possible consequences of the crime. Then there are the few that think that the legal system needs to take pity on juveniles because they are too young to understand the consequences. Juveniles should not be spared the death penalty because they possess the mental capacity to commit the odious crimes that adults also commit and should be treated with the same consequences.

Some people think the death penalty is too high a price to pay for a juvenile who is just going through adolescence and who does not have the full mental capacity required to understand the punishment associated with committing a crime. Anti-death penalty types think that the death penalty is too cruel and inhumane a punishment for a juvenile that has committed a very cruel and inhumane crime, like murder, to get on death row in the first place. They do not think that these "children" should be held accountable for acts they apparently do not fully understand they are committing. These people think that if a judge sentences a juvenile to the death penalty then the judge is essentially killing the future of America, but if the future of America is committing crimes heinous enough to warrant the death penalty, then the future does not look very bright.

On the contrary, juveniles are and should be sentenced the death penalty. The execution of juveniles is legal and practiced in the majority of states that administer the death penalty, the 38 of them. The minimum age for the death penalty in the United States is 16, set by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Thompson v Oklahoma. Currently 24 states allow the death penalty to be given to juveniles (Execution of Child Offenders). So of the 38 states that administer the death penalty, 24 allow juveniles to be executed, or about 63%....

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Race and the Death Penalty Essay

2107 words - 8 pages The death penalty is one of the most controversial issues on American soil. Blacks are more likely to face the death penalty than whites in the commission of identical crimes(CNN, 2014). The history of capital punishment dates back to the days before Christ. The Old Testament adage 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,' has survived throughout the ages despite the New Testament's rendition of 'thou shall not kill'. Today's American...

Children And The Death Penalty Essay

1359 words - 5 pages A. Henderson Fifty three years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "A country which repeatedly proclaims itself to be the world's most progressive force for human rights, heads a tiny circle of nations with a far less distinguished claim to fame- the execution of people for crimes they...

Racism and the Death Penalty

932 words - 4 pages The Effects of Race on Sentencing in Capital Punishment CasesThroughout history, minorities have been ill-represented in the criminal justice system, particularly in cases where the possible outcome is death. In early America, blacks were lynched for the slightest violation of informal laws and many of these killings occured without any type of due...

Women And The Death Penalty

2443 words - 10 pages Women and the Death Penalty The bell rings, and all are silent outside the prison walls. The anxious crowd lets out a sigh of relief when they think murder William Kemmler is dead. This is a very important day in the history of capital punishment. William Kemmler is to be the first put to death by means of electrocution. No one has ever been...

Juveniles: Banning the Death Sentence

1282 words - 5 pages As parents the worst news we can imagine is harm coming to our children, but having a child face a death sentence is completely tragic. You think of the life they could have, you ask yourself where you went wrong. You put yourself in the shoes of the family your child has hurt and how they were denied of a normal life. Sufficed to say when a child is on death row their actions hurt all involved. While many oppose capital punishment, we need to...

Islamic Law and the Juvenile Death Penalty

992 words - 4 pages As Emile Durkheim, believed society's punishments are a window through which society's “true nature” can be viewed. And an important reason why this punishment is thought of with such repugnance is that they have been historically linked to the process of torture. But if a poll were conducted tomorrow in Islamic countries, would we find considerable support for juvenile death penalty? Despite the abolition or moratorium of capital...

Fair Punishment and the Death Penalty

908 words - 4 pages Fair Punishment and the Death Penalty 94 federal attorneys have the power to submit a case to Janet Reno (Willing 3A). These attorneys seek the death penalty for these cases, and why should they not? Whys should one who has taken a life, or even several, deserve the air that they breathe? Capital punishment is a harsh punishment created for people who have committed harsh crimes. The death penalty should be used to punish violent...

The Death Penalty and Its Necessity

981 words - 4 pages A devastated, victimized family mourns the loss of Dawn Garvin, a young woman who had recently been murdered for an unknown cause. Many families across the nation face this pain and regret in their lives everyday as they must live through the deaths of their loved ones. What should we do to prevent these tragic events from happening? As many people would say, "The death penalty should be enforced to keep the criminals off the streets." Also,...

The Death Penalty: Cruel and Unusual

1329 words - 5 pages The death penalty is the most inhuman and crucial punishment. Even though it is not applied in every state, the death penalty is a very strong debate and argument within our own government. There are people who support it and those who are against it. The death penalty is a punishment to those who due to their actions and circumstances commit crimes. All people are all equal under the eyes of the law and those people in the end are still...

Criminal Justice System and the Death Penalty

2334 words - 9 pages The Criminal Justice System plays a critical role in the organizational structure of the United States. Without the Criminal Justice System to administer deserved punishment, this country would be disorganized, unstructured, cruel, unjustified and a chaotic habitat for its citizens. “The criminal justice system is a group of organizations involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing and jailing those involved in...

Death penalty and the mentally retarded

1114 words - 4 pages DEBATE SPEECHHonorable judge, worthy opponents. Please picture this scene. The teacher stands in the doorway of her classroom trying to get her first grade students to line up for library. Kayla Rolland, six years old, stands patiently waiting in line. One of the boys in the class approaches Kayla and withdraws a gun from his pocket and shoots Kayla in the chest. A half-hour later Kayla is dead. This is a true story. This six-year-old...

As a society, we recognize that children, those under 18 years old, can not and do not function as adults. That is why the law takes special steps to protect children from the consequences of their actions and often seeks to ameliorate the harm cause when children make wrong choices by giving them a second chance. The law prohibits people under eighteen from voting, serving in the military and on juries, but in some states, they can be executed for crimes they committed before they reach adulthood. The United States Supreme Court prohibits execution for crimes committed at the age of fifteen or younger. Nineteen states have laws permitting the execution of persons who committed crimes at sixteen or seventeen. Since 1973, 226 juvenile death sentences have been imposed. Twenty-two juvenile offenders have been executed and 82 remain on death row. 

  • On January 27, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to review whether executing sixteen and seventeen year-olds violates the Constitution's  ban on 'cruel and unusual punishment.' The review comes after the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of 17 year-old Christopher Simmons. Roper v. Simmons will be reviewed by the justices this fall, four of whom have called the juvenile death penalty 'inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society.'

 While adolescents can and should be held accountable for their actions, new scientific information demonstrates that they can not fairly be held accountable to the same extent as adults. Studies by the Harvard Medical School, the National Institute of Mental Health and the UCLA's Department of Neuroscience finds that the frontal and pre-frontal lobes of the brain, which regulate impulse control and judgment, are not fully developed in adolescents. Development is not completed until somewhere between 18 and 22 years of age. These findings confirm that adolescents generally have a greater tendency towards impulsivity, making unsound judgments or reasoning, and are less aware of the consequences of their actions.

Because of their immaturity, adolescent children are also more likely to be coerced by adults and are sometimes the pawns for more sophisticated criminals. They are also more likely to be taken advantage of during the investigation of a criminal case. Juveniles are often intimidated by adults and authority figures, and are therefore more likely to be the victims of coerced confessions, which are often false. Moreover juveniles are less likely to invoke their Miranda Rights, including their right to legal representation. Most importantly, the goals of the death penalty do not apply to juveniles. Retribution aims to give the harshest punishment to the worst offender. Juveniles are the most likely to be capable of rehabilitation. Given their emotional immaturity and lessened culpability, they are not among the ""worst of the worst.""

Public opinion in the United States increasingly opposes the execution of juvenile offenders. According to a 2003 Harris Poll, 69 percent of the people polled opposed the death penalty for juveniles; only 22 percent supported the execution of juvenile offenders, while 5 percent offered no opinion. Meanwhile, the juvenile death penalty disproportionately affects children of color, as it is subject to the same racial disparities as have been discovered throughout the use of capital punishment.

Internationally, the execution of juveniles is largely considered inhumane, anachronistic, and in direct conflict with fundamental principles of justice. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights bans the execution of juvenile offenders. Although the United States has signed the ICCPR and therefore agreed to be bound by its standards, the U.S. has reserved the right to execute juvenile offenders as long as our Constitution is interpreted to permit the practice. Of the 123 countries that currently use the death penalty, only the United States and Iran impose death sentences on juveniles. In the fall of 2003, however, Iran's judiciary began drafting a bill that will raise the minimum age for death sentences from fifteen to eighteen. The bill will also exclude those under eighteen from receiving life-terms or lashing as punishment. Ironically, many of the countries that the United States government regularly criticizes for human rights abuses have abolished the practice of executing juveniles. For example, between 1994 and 2000, Yemen, Zimbabwe, China and parts of Pakistan amended their laws to prohibit the execution of juvenile offenders. In continuing what is universally viewed as a barbaric and uncivilized practice, the United States has, over the past decade, executed more juvenile offenders than every other nation in the world combined.

See the American Bar Association's web site on Juvenile Death Penalty

Read information and statistics about the juvenile death penalty here

0 Replies to “Death Penalty For Juveniles Essays”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *