Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thiel College-The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty-Comment No. 6

Why is the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons so important to juvenile criminal justice jurisprudence?  Explain in detail the decision's impact beyond the death penalty.


Anonymous said...


Roper V. Simmons was a major decision within the supreme court in the United States that stated that it is unconstitutional to enforce capital punishment for crimes committed by anyone under the age of 18 years old. It was a 5-4 decision that overruled Stanford v. Kentucky in which it used to have the age of 16 and above for execution of offenders. This case was and is still very important to the juvenile justice system because it allows age for minors to be a mitigating factor. Studies show that the human brain does not stop developing until the age of 25. Therefore, in some cases minors who committed crimes did not know the consequences of their actions. This cases ended up not only impacting the death penalty, but more decisions within the country. Within most states, it became illegal to vote, serve on juries, or even marry without parental consent under the age of 18 years old. Roper v Simmons was one of the most important court cases within the United States which has changed the Juvenile Justice System tremendously for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Student 12

The U.S. Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons (2005) ruled that that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid the execution of offenders who were younger than age 18 when the crime occurred. The vote was 5-4. Historically, in Stanford v. Kentucky (1989) the Supreme Court ruled that the imposition of the death penalty on convicted capital offenders who were 16 or 17 did not violate the 8th Amendment. The Court has now changed their ruling based on societies evolving standards of decency. Since the decision in Stanford, a national consensus has formed against the execution of juvenile offenders. The Court overruled its decision in Stanford, setting the minimum age for eligibility for the death penalty at 18. Justice Kennedy also cited a body of sociological and scientific research that found that juveniles have a lack of maturity and sense of responsibility compared to adults. He goes on to state that this immaturity and irresponsibility allow juveniles to be less culpable for their actions. When determining guilt, juveniles should not be held to the same standard as adults because of their increased vulnerability.

Anonymous said...

Student No. 13:

Roper v. Simmons was a landmark decision for the juvenile justice system. The Supreme Court of the United States determined that it was unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for crimes committed when the individual was under eighteen years old. This overruled the previous decision in the Stanford v. Kentucky case which set the age at 16. The Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons determined that imposing the death penalty to anyone younger than eighteen years violated the eight amendment of a cruel and unusual punishment. A main argument was that a juvenile's brain is not fully developed, meaning they lack maturity and the sense of responsibility that adults possess. This had effects outside of the death penalty. States changed the age to vote, serve on a jury, and even get married to eighteen. Roper v. Simmons had a big impact on juveniles in America.

Unknown said...

Student No. 16:

Roper vs Simmons is arguably one of the most important death penalty decisions in the last quarter century. What started out as a 1993 burglary event turned into a murder case when 17-year-old Simmons and a 15-year-old accomplice tied a woman up, took her to bridge, and threw her into river. Due to the younger age of Simmons’ accomplice and due to the ruling in Stanford vs Kentucky, the 15-year-old accomplice was given life-in-prison. Simmons was originally given the death penalty, but with this ruling Simmons’ death penalty sentence was reduced to life-in-prison. The case decision went far beyond the death penalty topic in later years, as topics of discussion then went towards life in prison for juveniles and issues regarding loss of parole, among other issues. With SCOTUS ruling that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to be executed, there was a separation between how juvenile offenders are treated and how adult offenders are treated. With this separation, many advocates for juvenile justice reforms were encouraged in their effort to further separate the punishment for juveniles and adults. Due to the rulings that followed, the debate of young offenders not deserving such harsh sentences developed, and advocates would use the brain development differences and other similar arguments as evidence. Even today, there are many debates over whether or not this should be allowable. There are still cases where juveniles are a few days away from their 18th birthday, commit homicide, and are not given the death penalty or other punishments an adult would receive. This is a hotly debated issue, especially since the difference of a few days until what we recognize as “adulthood” should not make a big difference in a person’s ethical decisions—yet, to the Supreme Court and advocates, it apparently does.

Anonymous said...


The case Roper v. Simmons(2005) was the case that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit the execution of offenders younger than 18 when the crime occurred. The decision ended up 5-4. Historically, the Court concluded in 1989 in Stanford v. Kentucky(1989), that the execution of 16- and 17-year-old offenders was not constitutionally barred. Ever since then, the Court now concludes that since Stanford, a national consensus has formed against the execution of juvenile offenders, and the practice violates society’s “evolving standards of decency.” The Court has overruled that decision, and made the death penalty age to 18 years old. This is because we know the brain doesn't fully develop until age 25. This is very heavily debated. For one reason, we can ask, if the brain doesn't fully develop until age 25, then why do people under that still get put on death row? Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, said: Retribution is not proportional if the law’s most severe penalty is imposed on one whose culpability or blameworthiness is diminished, to a substantial degree, by reason of youth and immaturity.

Anonymous said...

student 11

Roper vs. Simmons determined that it is unconstitutional to enforce capital punishment on minors. It is a landmark case for people under 18 because it brought up brain development, deciding that crimes can be caused by a lack of understanding of the consequences. This affects every case against a minor since then, as now brain development is in the equation for each and every person. However, as it was accepted that the brain is not fully developed until about age 25, it does bring into question why people in the age range 18-25 are still held totally accountable for their actions, as there is not a huge difference between someone who committed a first degree aggravated homicide at age 17 and 364 days and someone who committed a first degree aggravated homicide at age 18 and 1 days.

Anonymous said...

Student No. 6 Roper V. Simmons is probably one of the most impactful cases of this century. This case has made it so juvenilies cannot recieve the death penalty due to the notion that their brain is not yet fully developed. This overturned the previous SCOTUS decision that stated the youngest age of execution could be 16 years old. The decision to not execute anyone under the age of 18, has moved beyond the death penalty. After this decision, there have been debates about whether these offenders should even be placed in jails, and has caused a "prison reform" outrcry from the public. This decision lead to people of the United States realizing our jail systems are just revolving doors, and in turn, has had them advocate for how to change this.

Anonymous said...

Student 19

Roper V. Simmons was a case that affected the court system in a large was. This case ended with the ruling that it is unconstitutional to sentence an individual to death under the age of 18. In this case, it was a 5-4 decision with the members of the supreme court. This was the decision because they believed it fell under cruel and unusual punishment. One topic that was discussed in this case was that kids brains are not completely developed, and it is seen as a mitigating factor. This is also very controversial because it is said that the human brain is not done developing until 25, so it makes people question how people 18-25 can still be tried for the death penalty. But this case had major affects on the system because its ruling. Now, juveniles are not able to get the death penalty, and that makes it so the court has to now work around these rules.

Anonymous said...

Student No. 8

The decision in the case Roper v. Simmons determined and stated that it is unconstitutional for capital punishment for those under the age of 18. functionally the death penalty is for those that crimes are so heinous that there are no redeemable factors for the individual, its a incapacitation of someone who is a danger to society the greater good at large. for juveniles, life in prison with a chance at parole might be a greater alternative to it considering, a state sanctioned homicide of a child typically wouldn't fair well on a report in other countries. its mainly about how we carry out ourselves and the process of capital punishment, weather these kids actions are determined to be a factor of age bears the thought, however not killing someone whos under 18 warrants a degree of professionalism, the system is not meant to execute kids but nor should it ignore the juveniles crimes, in that way just morally, its wrong.

Anonymous said...

Student No. 9

Roper v Simmons was a landmark case that established an important decision, one that has affected more than the court systems. In Roper v Simmons, a 17 year old was tried for the death penalty. Just after his case, Atkins v Virginia was decided that executing mentally disabled people was considered cruel and unusual punishment. Just after this case, Missouri decided to reconsider Roper v Simmons. As an appeal to the case, the supreme court decided in a 5-4 decision that executing juveniles was cruel and unusual punishment. Reflecting through state legislators, the court decided that the American people had evolving standards of decency, and that executing juveniles was no longer wanted from the people. This case established that people no longer felt juveniles should be executed, and established that there were evolving standards of decency. It also established that the courts were considerate of the age of juveniles, so now it is used as a mitigating factor in many other court cases. The age of juveniles is now argued throughout the criminal justice system. It also established evolving standards of decency, which is used throughout the criminal justice system, to explain that Americans standards are changing, and we should be more considerate on laws and punishment. Evolving standards is perhaps important in every case today, that what was once supported by people, may not be true today, so we should be accepting of change in our criminal justice system.

Anonymous said...

Student 18
Roper v Simmons was a land mark case back in 2005 that stated that minors under 18 could not be sentenced to death. This was a landmark case as they stated the reasoning was because minors brains are not yet fully developed yet. The result of this ruling lead to extensive research on the topic of brain development in minors. One of the interesting points to mention is that the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25 yet the restriction only applies to those under the age of 18. If this is what the main argument of the reason for not execute minors then shouldn’t the restriction also apply to those under the age of 25 as well.

Anonymous said...

Student #21:

Roper v. Simmons, issued on March 1, 2005, was a landmark case where the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for a crime committed by a child under the age of 18. The Court ruled that a death sentence imposed on a minor violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Justice Kennedy wrote, “When a juvenile offender commits a heinous crime, the state can exact forfeiture of some of the most basic liberties, but the state cannot extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature understanding of his own humanity.” Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 554 (2005).

This was an important case because it was the first case to establish that brain development does not peak until age 25. This gave a defense to juveniles and young adults. Because their brains were not fully matured, they should not get the maximum sentence (death penalty).

student 14 said...

Khalil Messai
Student #14
In the Ropper v. Simmons case in 2005 was a very interesting case because it dealt with the prosecution of minors. So, the problem was that minors who were prosecuted were being executed. So when this case happened they wanted to change that because the supreme court ruled it as unconstitutional. The eighth amendment dealt with it. The main argument was that juveniles’ brains aren’t fully development as a adult.

Law and Justice Policy said...


Anonymous said...

Student Number 10

The case of Roper v. Simmons ruled that the standards of decency had evolved so that executing minors is viewed as "cruel and unusual punishment" which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. This was a decision delivered in a 5-4 opinion. This case established that people no longer felt that minors should be subjected to the death penalty for their crimes. It was viewed as a disproportionate punishment. This then sparked conversation about brain development and maturity level in minors. Research began to emerge regarding minors brain development, which then caused discussion about further types of rehabilitation and punishment for minors. The age of the offender is now a mitigating factor in most court cases. The evolving standards are something that has been used in many court decisions in recent years. This is because the opinions about proper punishments among American's is changing. The American people are becoming more accepting of change, therefore, the criminal justice system should be too.

Anonymous said...

Student #2:

Roper v. Simmons was a precedent case that abolished the possibility of the Death Penalty to individuals under the age of 18 when the crime was committed. While many individuals began to begin researching more about the brain development of minors this decision did not anger many because there is proof of difference developing stages in minors when compared to adults. An issue that arises when only looking at brain development is that the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. People argue that if you are not allowing the death penalty because of this reason, then why not extend it to individuals who are 25 and under because they too are not fully developed.

Anonymous said...

Student 1
Roper v Simmons was a serious case due to the initial decision of executing a 17 year old. After a series of appeals, it was concluded that it was unconstitutional to execute a minor due to a minor's brain not being fully developed. The final decision was that if you are under the age of 18 then you can't be sentenced to death. Today that rule still stands for the sentencing of minors.

Anonymous said...

Student No. 4

Roper v Simmons was a serious case and it dealt with an execution of a 17 year old. As a juvenile you cannot be executed for committing a crime. You are still able in the government eyes to be rehabbed and be put into society and be a capable member of society.

Anonymous said...

Student No. 17
We have repeatedly scene the death penalty chipped away in various ways, but especially under this idea of evolving standards of decency. Juvenile Criminal law was simply the next step in the process. As dissenters grow in number the death penalty will slowly be chipped away until it is nonexistent. Beyond the death penalty, we see that the United States is evolving in it's stance towards life and youth, along with the rest of the world. Also, the court's decision showed that they do care about international ideals as well when making decisions, which is certainly controversial and will likely become a problem in the near future.

number 5 said...

Student: 5

Studies show that our brains aren't done developing until we are 25 so the cases of Roper V Simmons played major role into the justice system because of an execution of an 17 year old and by law you aren't able to give a minor the death penalty until they are of age 18 but at this time the vote was 5 to 4. The debates and actions from this case got the death penalty abolished for anyone who was under the age of 18 because they could put minors into rehab or centers that could change their outlook on society and bring them back to being a member of society.

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