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Juvenile death penalty ruled unconstitutional

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
It looks like the tides are turning: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/03/01/sc....ap/index.html
post #2 of 18
It's hard to make a decision as a whole, since there can be so many different circumstances in court cases. But I have to agree with this. I don't think juveniles should be given the death penalty.
I saw a movie about this on tv a few weeks ago. I can't remember the name of the movie, but a teenager ended up homeless and got wrapped up with some guy who acted as her pimp and to make a long story short, he forced drugs on her and then while she was high got her to kill her ex boyfriend who was older than her and had a child. She got the death penalty. It was such a sad story, she was 15 at the time she committed the murder, and from her actions and the events leading up to it, she wasn't old enough to have the capability to handle the situations she was faced with.
post #3 of 18
I have mixed feelings about this as well. Though I identify myself as liberal, I am more conservative when it comes to capital punishment (I am pro). It gets trickier when it comes to juveniles, but think about this: there was a case when a 17-year-old-boy killed someone and said he'd get away with it since he's "still a minor." This just shows that there ARE some people under the 18 who ARE diaboilcal and capable of clear thought. Who knows how many children will try to commit crimes now knowing they cannot be put to death??
post #4 of 18
17 is not much different from 18. i think it depends on the crime and the criminal but shouldnt be ruled out.

harsh as this sounds but by executing them you might be saving more lives
post #5 of 18
For years I was for the death penalty and then I had this revelation about it all. I remember when McVeigh was put to death it suddenly seems so absurd, here is a guy who killed out of righetous indignation and feeling justified and then in turn here we killed him. It was like he got what he wanted. I dont' know, I feel that he should have had to sit in a cell and look at the photo's of those he killed, and have the "state" he hated so much show him the mercy he didn't to those victims.

Plus we are human, only God can kill. What if we are wrong? There are so many death row cases that are overturned.
post #6 of 18
I'm a bit mixed on this one as well. On one hand...well, we've had that discussion about juvenile killers. While I don't believe that they are simply products of their environment and shouldn't really be punished as severely because of their age, death for something done at 14 seems harsh. At the same time, 17 years and 364 days can't get the same penalty as 18 for the same crime, and we all know that 1 day doesn't make a big difference in being able to tell right from wrong. Also, I heard on the radio a cop from California call in and say that he's seen first hand, especially with gang bangers, where older criminals will pay minors to murder because the worst they can get is a stay in juvie until they are 25.
post #7 of 18
It's interesting, it wasn't the usual 4/5 split. O'Connor supported keeping the death penalty.
post #8 of 18
Thank goodness, finally some sense and compassion. I am anti death penalty period. I was brought up by the maxim, two wrongs don't make a right. I believe a REAL life in prison is the greater punishment. For myself I see a life sentence as the bigger punishment. Given the choice of death or life, I would rather die than spend the rest of my life behind bars. But then I don't believe in hell either.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ugaimes
I have mixed feelings about this as well. Though I identify myself as liberal, I am more conservative when it comes to capital punishment (I am pro). It gets trickier when it comes to juveniles, but think about this: there was a case when a 17-year-old-boy killed someone and said he'd get away with it since he's "still a minor." This just shows that there ARE some people under the 18 who ARE diaboilcal and capable of clear thought. Who knows how many children will try to commit crimes now knowing they cannot be put to death??
Well I do NOT believe in keeping people in prisons for the rest of their lives but just to execute them does not seem to do much good to stop others. I won't go into what I believe should be done, though!

As for minors getting the death penalty --- what do you do with minors such as the two "boys" who killed so many at Colombine? IF they had lived they would be minors and they would maybe serve time and then when they became adults their records wouild be sealed. So if they were NOT reformed, just think of how many people they did not like they would kill!
post #10 of 18
I think older people will use this law to their advantage. They will let the younger kids do their killing for them.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsd
I think older people will use this law to their advantage. They will let the younger kids do their killing for them.
In some places .... they've already been doing that.

I wonder if the "parents" can be held accountable for their children's actions. Seems to me that if a minor can premediate a murder, go out and do it and more (some of those so-called "children" have done absolutely disgusting crimes) then their parents should be forced to pay for their incarceration. They chose not to raise these twerps, let them pay for their children's actions - literally.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bad Wolf
In some places .... they've already been doing that.

I wonder if the "parents" can be held accountable for their children's actions. Seems to me that if a minor can premediate a murder, go out and do it and more (some of those so-called "children" have done absolutely disgusting crimes) then their parents should be forced to pay for their incarceration. They chose not to raise these twerps, let them pay for their children's actions - literally.
As a parent, that idea makes me feel uncomfortable.
post #13 of 18
I don't like this at all. If you commit an adult crime you should get an adult punishment - that includes the chair, injection, what have you.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBabies
As for minors getting the death penalty --- what do you do with minors such as the two "boys" who killed so many at Colombine? IF they had lived they would be minors and they would maybe serve time and then when they became adults their records wouild be sealed. So if they were NOT reformed, just think of how many people they did not like they would kill!
I doubt that this decision will rule out minors who commit heinous crimes being tried as adults, and receiving sentences, such as "life without parole", that preclude their being released once they reach their majority. In other countries, perhaps, but probably not in the U.S., with its widespread "eye for an eye" mindset.

I work with teenagers, so I'm fully aware that their thought processes aren't always "mature" and "logical", so I tend to support this decision. Several people have pointed out that there's little difference between, e.g., an "almost-18-year-old" and an "18-year-old". I agree, but lines have to be drawn somewhere, even if they are somewhat arbitrary. In most states, a 16-year-old can get a driver's license, but somebody who is three months shy of his/her 16th birthday cannot - that's arbitrary, too.
post #15 of 18
I think this is wonderful. But only because I am completely anti death penalty. If I was pro death I would probably think differently.
post #16 of 18
I have mixed feelings on this, too. So many teens are hardened criminals. Plus the idea of adults getting an under-18 to do their 'dirty work' is a very real possiblity, especially in the case of gangs. I also wish that prison were truly an unpleasant place and something to be avoided. Too often, it isn't.
post #17 of 18
I think a lot of it has to do with state of mind. If a psychiatrist had been able to interview the two boys from Columbine, I doubt they would have been declared sane. Nor would most of the serious juvenile offenders.

Maybe there shouldn't be a line. Maybe there should be a set a laws setting the boundries for tests to determine whether or not the child is mature enough to understand what they did, and wether or not they were influenced by someone else. Those things can be corrected by counciling and mild forms of punishment. I really think that a 16 year old kid who murdered someone can still become a "productive member of society" if given the chances to reform, with help from authorities. They'll still have to live with what they've done, and once they realize the extent of what they did, I think that's punishment enough.
post #18 of 18
Just a quick metal note... The human brain is not fully formed till age 25 and in a few documented cases age 30. This answers the question for me ..... I am against the death penalty because I have read the third chapter in my bible and read what God did to the first muderer...
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