Citation. Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 125 S. Ct. 1183, 161 L. Ed. 2d 1, 73 U.S.L.W. 4153, 18 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 131 (U.S. Mar. 1, 2005)
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Brief Fact Summary.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty served on Christopher Simmons after he was convicted of a murder he had committed when he was 17 as unconstitutional, as applied to persons under the age of 18. The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the decision.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The opinion of the world community might not be controlling, but it is relevant to consideration of the juvenile death penalty in the United States.
Christopher Simmons (D) was convicted by the state of Missouri (P) for murder when he was 17 years old. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional as applied to minors and set aside the death sentence on Simmons (D). This ruling was reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court and in the process of reaching its conclusion, considered the opinion of the international community.
Though the opinion of the world community might not be controlling, it is relevant to consideration of the juvenile death penalty in the United States?
(Kennedy, J.) yes. The opinion of the world community might not be controlling, but it is relevant to consideration of the juvenile death penalty in the United States. Precedent suggests that reference to the laws of other countries and to the international authorities for interpretation of the prohibition of â€œcruel and unusual punishmentâ€ is proper. Countries in the world have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates an express prohibition on capital punishment for minors (under 18) except Somalia and the U.S. however, the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid imposition of the death penalty on offenders under 18 years. Affirmed.
The Court’s application of â€œthe evolving standards of decencyâ€ test was not stated in the casebook excerpt. A body of sociological and scientific research which found juveniles to lack maturity and sense of responsibility when compared to adults, was cited by Justice Kennedy. Hence, the honorable Justice reasoned that the trend internationally against the death penalty for juveniles was relevant because of its basis in this evolving notion that the death penalty is not appropriate for juvenile offenders because of their instability and emotional imbalance.