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Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty

AP Reports:

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states.

The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.

No. 03-633, Roper v. Simmons, affirmed 5-4, in an opinion written by Justice Kennedy. Justice Stevens filed a concurrence, joined by Justice Ginsburg. Justice O'Connor dissented. Justice Scalia dissented, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas.[Via Scotus Blog]

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP)responds to the decision: (by e-mail)

U.S. SUPREME COURT SAYS KIDS ARE DIFFERENT; U.S. JOINS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN BANNING JUVENILE DEATH PENALTY

“This decision confirms what we all know and what science recently has proven: kids are different,” said Diann Rust-Tierney, NCADP executive director. “Kids are different from adults and by their very nature cannot qualify as the ‘worst of the worst’ standard used by some to justify a sentence of death.”

Rust-Tierney noted that a historically broad coalition of national civil rights groups, religious denominations, legal organizations and medical associations had urged the court to strike down the juvenile death penalty. In addition, polls demonstrate solid public opposition against the practice.

“We applaud the fact that the court recognized the strong consensus against the juvenile death penalty,” Rust-Tierney said. “This consensus is further evidence that the U.S. public does not want the death penalty applied too broadly.”

Including Missouri, from which Roper v. Simmons sprang, 31 states ban the execution of juvenile offenders. Of the remaining states, only 12 have juvenile offenders on death row. They are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. To read more about the juvenile death penalty and learn about NCADP’s Campaign to End Juvenile Executions, please visit here

During the past two decades, 22 juvenile offender executions have occurred in the United States, including 13 in the state of Texas. Nine such executions have occurred since the year 2000. Six of those nine took place in Texas and involved an African American offender. he other three executions took place in Oklahoma and Virginia.

More than half of the juvenile offenders on death row are housed in two states – Alabama and Texas – and about two-thirds are people of color.

“Today the United States takes a major step toward joining the 21st Century,” Rust-Tierney said. “The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed that standards of decency have evolved and the execution of youthful
offenders is indeed a cruel and unusual practice. Today the Court sends a signal to the few states that still execute juvenile offenders that this inhumane practice is no longer an option.”

From Scotus Blog:

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Tuesday that the death penalty "is a disproportionate punishment for juveniles," and thus it violates the Eighth Amendment to impose a death sentence on a youthful murderer who committed the crime before age 18. Today, the Court said, "society views juveniles as categorically less culpable than the average criminal."

While conceding that drawing the line against capital punishment at age 18 might be debatable, the Court said: "The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood. It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for death eligibility ought to rest."

..."The differences between juvenile and adult offenders are too marked and well understood to risk allowing a youthful persoin to receive the death penalty despite insufficient culpability," 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."

His opinion was joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David H. Souter and John Paul Stevens. Both Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Antonin Scalia wrote dissenting opinions. Scalia's dissent was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas. Scalia recited at length from his dissent after Kennedy announced the ruling.

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  • Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:41:38 AM EST
    About damn time.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:52:52 AM EST
    What's Texas going to do with its toddler-sized electric chair?

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:03:35 AM EST
    I agree w/ Freder. Now, if it's "cruel" for children, why isn't it "cruel" for adults? Time to throw out the "whole damn thing" as "unconstitutionally cruel," imo. But, then, I'm not a "Supreme" (or a lawyer for that matter). Nevertheless, it's time to abolish it completely is long overdue. [Haven't yet read the opinion, but will do so later, tonight.]

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#4)
    by Sailor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:11:06 AM EST
    Scalia - "The court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter:" Boy this dude gets further from reality everyday: Most recently, in March 2004, South Dakota and Wyoming enacted legislation to prevent anyone from being sentenced to death for a crime committed before his 18th birthday. In August 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the execution of juvenile offenders violated the U.S. Constitution ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Montana and Indiana enacted legislation banning the juvenile death penalty in 1999 and 2002, respectively. In 2003 and 2004, legislation to ban the juvenile death penalty was introduced in at least a dozen states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Virginia. Seems like a trend to me. Not to mention "A May 2002 Gallup Poll revealed that 69% of Americans prefer a sentence of life-without-parole for juvenile offenders, while only 26% favor a death sentence;" Damn I hate those activist judges that ignore the will of the people.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:11:34 AM EST
    Bollocks. At least the language is clear. -C

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#6)
    by Kitt on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:42:23 AM EST
    Whoa! I just saw this at Reuters.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:08:13 AM EST
    sandra day saves the day. for now. in a few years, this could be reversed by the newly bushf*cked court.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#8)
    by aw on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:27:10 AM EST
    Minors can't vote, have no say, no representation, are not mature enough to rent a car. But we should be able to kill them?

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:38:06 AM EST
    Hallelujah! We still have a way to go, but this just made my day.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:38:25 AM EST
    I did not realize the court was to make decisions based on what the rest of world thought. Why don't they order the drinknig age lowered to 18 so while they were at it? "......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." Will that line of reasoning be applied to abortions?

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:47:14 AM EST
    Justice Kennedy is who saved the day, not Sandra Day O'Connor. She also dissented though for less hard line reasons. It is so clear the Scalia has no temperance whatsoever, that he completely disregards facts to suit his argument notwithstanding more often as time goes on. It is frightening, truly.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sailor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:52:22 AM EST
    Coyote sez "I did not realize the court was to make decisions based on what the rest of world thought. " Well strawman, if you only had a brain; read the above linked article and see the trend in America is clear. 4 states in 2 years have banned it for minors. Of the remaining 19 that kill children, 12 have had legislation introduced to ban it for minors. 69% of Americans want it banned. So what does world opinion have to do with the fact that Bush personally signed death sentences for minors and retarded people?

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:54:49 AM EST
    Scalia thinks interpreting the Constitution to determine what is and isn't cruel and unusual is a job for the legislature? Jeebus.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:15:34 AM EST
    Ivor - Well, actually, it generally is. And most of all it generally is at the state level. Laws on drinking, tobacco, sentancing, driving privledges, marriage rules, etc, etc. -C

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    "......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." Will that line of reasoning be applied to abortions?
    ... only to abortions the state performs...

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:26:39 AM EST
    Today is a good day for America and those who defend the principles she was founded on will sleep a little better tonight.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:39:54 AM EST
    It's up the courts to interpret the Constitution's meaning when it examines the legislature's output. That's what they were doing here and that's what Scalia doesn't like it to do.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:47:08 AM EST
    mfox - I guess you found an unwritten right in the ninth amendment for a juvenile to murder and not be punished as his state designates. Sailor - I am basically opposed to the death penalty, except in cases of absolute guilt of certain crimes. But there is no "trend." And if there was, should laws be based on "trends?" If you believe that, what will you say when the trend is against you? mfox - Word games are not for adults. Obviously, the state has sanctioned and made abortion legal. There is no difference between saying it is legal and allowing, and doing. If you think not, get involved in a robbery as the getaway driver and have one of your pals kill someone.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#19)
    by Pete Guither on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 11:20:57 AM EST
    PPJ, do you know what you're even saying? "There is no difference between saying it is legal and allowing, and doing." That's one of the most bizarre things I've ever heard, even from you. (nothwithstanding your "accomplice" example which has no specific bearing to that point) Let's see... The government says it is legal, and allows private entities to restrict speech. Does that mean it's OK for the government to do it? In addition, there is a moral distinction that is important to me that you might not be able to grasp. The government is a government by the people, and so I am responsible for the government's actions. When the government kills, I am responsible and my moral code is against killing. Laws against abortion are about something else entirely -- they are about using punishment, instead of some other means, to attempt to bring about a desired end. Passing an anti-abortion law doesn't stop abortion, it merely criminalizes it. And criminalizing things works so damned well, as we've discovered from prohibition 1, 2, etc. It's not a word game. It's an important moral distinction. I personally am morally opposed to abortion and yet I think the worst thing we could do is criminalize it. mfox had it right.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 11:31:05 AM EST
    PG - I have commented that I am pro choice, but anti-abortion. My point, perhaps poorly expressed, is that if giovernment says it is legal, it is legal. Not necesssarily right, or moral, but legal. So, when it sanctions abortions, they are legal, and government is joined at the hip with the act of abortion. Just as an accomplice is also responsible for the death(s) caused by another person during the commission of a crime.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 11:51:32 AM EST
    Why don't they order the drinknig age lowered to 18 so while they were at it?
    As they should, if you're old enough to be executed, you should be old enough to buy a six pack. Makes perfect sense to me. Dadler got it right. This is good news, but just for now. When Bush appoints one or two of his ilk, it will be 5-4 the other way.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#22)
    by Sailor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 11:59:05 AM EST
    Pete, pay no attention to the man behind the strawmen; he always uses these tactics and someone always falls for them. (frequently me ... doh!) He knows better, and pretends to misunderstand, even when you provide the links and the data, e.g trends. et al - the "cruel & unusual" (8th amendment) part is meant to evolve as society does.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#23)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 12:28:06 PM EST
    When Bush appoints one or two of his ilk, it will be 5-4 the other way.
    Well, its likely that Bush's first nominee will be to replace Rehnquist, whose already in the minority, so that one will merely hold the line at 5-4. Isn't it generally held that the most likely other justice Bush might get to replace is O'Connor? Same there.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 01:00:36 PM EST
    My bad cm, you are correct...I misread and thought O'Connor was on the right side of this one.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 01:02:11 PM EST
    The "right side" being the side that says the gov't shouldn't execute minors.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#26)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 02:14:28 PM EST
    Sailor - When you start "evolving" anything you never know what you will end up with. We do, however, have a constitutional method for change. It is call amending the constitution. Since you can't get that, you are trying to go around it. As I said. What will you do when the trend is against you? And isn't that your problem, now? Having changed things by fiat, you are scared silly the court will change. And you are right. BTW - Can you show me show me proof that the XIII is supposed to evolve as society does? My copy says this: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 02:14:49 PM EST
    above by me

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#28)
    by BigTex on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 03:09:59 PM EST
    This isn't a surprise rulin', one o' th' 2 moderates was goin' t' side with th' liberal 4. O'Connor seems t' be th' most reasoned on th' case. Here's th' problem with th' reasonin' o' th' balck robes. Th' death penalty is an exculsivley internal matter, it doesn't have any impact on foreign countries. Why then should what they say have any merit over what we do internally. It's one thing t' object t' our trade policies, pollution, or th' war on terror, because those actions all have global consiquences, and it's understandable that foreign powers would want t' have a say. This doesn't, it's purely domestic. This is a sad day, not because o' th' holdin' - reasonable people can disagree on if th' decision was right or a proper use o' judicial power. Th' problem with today's rulin' is that Kennedy, who is ususally a sound bglackrobe who does what he thinks is right regardless o' politics, has decided t' join th' fold o' th' black robes who look outside o' US law and tradition fer guidence. If this issue had impact on others then perhaps th' use o' foreign influence wouldn't be so nausious, but this is a purely domestic issue, and th' court gave away a piece o' our soverignty because it was politically expediant. They could o' maintained our soverignty and come t' th' same conclusion, but instead chose t' give away our soverignty.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#29)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 03:27:42 PM EST
    Every body who disagrees with Sailor is a Strawman. I'll say it again, I did not know it was the job of the court to worry about what the rest of the world thought.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#30)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 03:34:06 PM EST
    I didn't think I'd live to see the day. The Supreme Court actually got one right. Abolishing the death penalty for juveniles removes a double standard to which our youth have long been unfairly held. It's good that some states have recognized this, and taken the initiative to strike it down on their own. Even better, though, that there's now a precedent to keep it down nationwide. Now, if they can only get rid of it for everything except treason.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#31)
    by Adept Havelock on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 03:43:16 PM EST
    I for one, am glad that the court arrived at this decision. The less we have in common with China, N. Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, the better. I am surprised we heard nothing from the WH on this. Anybody know many, if any, minors were executed while Bush was Gov. of TX.? And yes, minor offenders should be punished. By locking them up IMO. Executing a minor strikes me as Cruel and Unusual punishment.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#32)
    by Sailor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 04:18:21 PM EST
    PPJ - The constitution stays the same, the interpretation of it changes as society does. I am away from my fast connection, but the evolution is in the previous rulings of the court. Even tho I doubt whether you are serious I'll try to look it up for the edification of all. Hopefully some lawyer (TL, TChris?) will post it sooner. Many legal arguments and grounds evolve; what is resonable bail now would have been unreasonable years ago. Another example, the 1st Amendment -"Congress shall make no law [snip] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble" Yet ther are now limits on free speech (fire in a crowded theatre, anyone) and you have to get a permit before 'peaceably assembling.' Coyote, you brought up world opinion, I was just pointing out that the SC opinion in this case was based on US trends. No matter how many times you say a lie it does not become the truth. I would have been more comfortable if they had based it on scientific findings that there are chemical & structural differences between child and adult brains ( actually extending into the 20's.) Everyone with teenagers knows this emperically, ever said "what were you THINKING!?") Tex - If a state wanted to reinstitute slavery, with no international or state to state ramifications, it would still be unconstitutional. No state can institute cruel & unusual punishment.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#33)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 06:49:27 PM EST
    It's a no-brainer. Glad they got this one right.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#34)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:08:20 PM EST
    Tex: It was constitutional to kill 7 year olds in 1789, is there an age below which you would say it is impermissible to kill an offender? - k

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#35)
    by BigTex on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:19:55 PM EST
    Sailor - yer misunderstandin' my argument. I'm not sayin' that th' Court got it wrong here - I agree with their reasonin' (outside o' th' foreign countries bit.) I've maintained for quite some time now that th' age o' consent should be th' age fer eligibality fer gettin' th' needle. What I'm sayin' is that foreign countries shouldn't have a say in th' matter, since it in no way impacts on them. Even if we used yer example o' slavery, and limited it t' domestic slaves only t' fit the pattern, it is cruel and unusual, should be stopped, but foreign governments should have no say in th' matter - it's none o' their business unless we take one o' their own as slaves.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#36)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:40:25 PM EST
    Didn't the boys do that 30 years ago? but maybe people talk when you put a 12 year old kid to death? it almost happened here in the land of god\freedom, with the little g\f.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#37)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:40:32 PM EST
    What I'm sayin' is that foreign countries shouldn't have a say in th' matter, since it in no way impacts on them. Even if we used yer example o' slavery, and limited it t' domestic slaves only t' fit the pattern, it is cruel and unusual, should be stopped, but foreign governments should have no say in th' matter - it's none o' their business unless we take one o' their own as slaves.
    So genocide that occurs inside a country's borders is of no other concern? What about other human rights abuses? Once you have the answer in your head, remember, the death penalty, especially the juvie DP, is viewed as a human rights abuse by every other western democracy & almost the entire of Christiandom. - k

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#38)
    by BigTex on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:49:16 PM EST
    Karl - insofar as their own internal domestic policies it doesn't matter, they should do what they feel is right fer their herd. Now, insofar as internal policies that impact other countries then yes it is o' concern. Foreign policy it matters. But needle stickin' isn't a policy that impacts another country, so it shouldn't have an impact on what their domestic policies are.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#39)
    by Sailor on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:08:50 PM EST
    Tex, I got the part about you agreeing with the decision, but you objected because you thought it was based on world opinion. I don't see it that way, the US has been heading that way for awhile.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#40)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:39:32 AM EST
    Sailor: I really do not disagree with the opinion, I just disagree with bringing in what other countries do to back up their reasoning. I am afraid this is a bad preview on a much more important ruling coming this summer- the one on Eminent Domain. If the US goes the way of the rest of the world- where the vast majority of home owners do not own the land their homes are on, Property owners here are looking at local gov't ability to take their land and homes for any reason at any price. Truely scarey.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#41)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:22:01 AM EST
    It's interesting that some people on this site claim that the way a government chooses to detain, treat and, (if it so chooses), kill its citizens is an exclusively internal affair, and that no country has any right to "interfere". And yet it's OK for the USA to invade Iraq to depose a dictator on the basis that he executed a large number of his people. Weird. One other thing: Are people on this site aware that only two countries on the planet have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child? (one aspect of this is the ban on execturing children and minors) Which two countries, you ask? The good ol' USA and..... Sudan. Sometimes we are judged by the company we keep.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#42)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:46:11 AM EST
    Just discovered this site... First, thrilled that the SupCt saw the light on this one. As an avid opponent of ANY capital punishment I applaud and hope and pray that the day will come when this country joins the civilized world in rejecting the ultimate punishment completely. As for what punshment fits, I never saw the problem of throwing murderers in jail with each other, feeding them stale bread and water, and throwing away the key... I never understood the "coddle or kill" mentality of our "correctional" system. Secondly, I was interestd by the discussion of the impact (or non-impact) on foreign states of this country's upholding of capital punishment. The member nations of the European Community made it a condition of entry that each member country abolish the death penalty. This has been one of the stumbling blocks for Turkey's entrance into the EU. I'm not suggesting the good old US of A would want to become an EU member (. . . time out while I let the laughter die down . . .) but isn't it possible, at some point in the future when the EU is economically stronger than the US, that they might insist on not doing business with any nation that has the death penalty? Of course, that would mean not doing business with most of the Arab world too... It is, unfortunately, typical of most Americans, even those on the left, to minimize the importance of membership in the world community. Do we need any clearer indication of this than the current "oil-war" in Iraq?

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#43)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 05:56:53 AM EST
    I guess the upside of this decision is that it throws stare decisis to the winds, overruling a prior decision of the Court that was only 15 years old. So let us hear no more about stare decisis when the Court next debates the issue of whether there is a constitutional right to an abortion.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#44)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:01:07 AM EST
    To me it is interesting that those who are anxious to take the flag of democracy around the world -- apparently not seeing this as a matter internal to other country's and peoples' decisionmaking -- are rather certain that there can be no such thing as international trends when it comes to an even more serious moral matter, state killing. Talk about situational ethics

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#45)
    by DonS on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:11:44 AM EST
    that's me at 7:01 BTW, what are you libertarians, who like to tell us "libruls" to leave the country if we don't like cowboy rules, going to do if these horrific international trends toward human rights continues? Leave the planet? Join the Taliban? Nuke 'em all? Just wondering.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#46)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 07:57:58 AM EST
    mfox... Today is a good day for America and those who defend the principles she was founded on will sleep a little better tonight. Yes..it's a great day! Can't wait for those 16 & 17 year old gang bangers to really have fun now!

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#47)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:33:06 AM EST
    BB And they're going to have fun serving life sentences??? How do you figure? And I understand the "unreformable gangbanger" mentality that started this juvenile incarceration movement (i.e. George Bush Sr. plunking a bag of crack cocaine down on his desk that was bought "across the street" from the White House). I've seen New Jack City, Boys 'n the Hood, etc. First, looking at the 79 kids on death row (who aren't considered responsible enough to drink, vote, or fight for their country)I would be very surprised if your stereotype applies to more than a few. Second, the death penalty is not "an eye for an eye" solution or supposed to be for the purpose of scaring other kids into not killing. It assumes that the person is such a hardened criminal that the chances for rehabilitation and reintegration into society are zilch, which by definition cannot be true of a juvenile who by definition has not even finished maturing. You may not like that, BB. From your other comments you seem like a xenophobic sadist to me. The judicial majority cited "evolving standards of decency in the world and in America as "thereason "hangin 'em high" has to go. You want your fix, go watch a Clint Eastwood movie. Hollywood has such a comforting, satisfying way of making sure only the really bad guys get punished.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#48)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:35:28 AM EST
    DBL: Stare decisis? The Rehnquist Court has shown less respect for stare decisis than any other Court in American history over turning prior precedent (not to mention federal statutes which isnt quite stare decisis) at rate hereto unknown. With that said, "evolving standards of decency," a concept that dates back to immediate aftermath of the Civil War, as the lodestar for Eight Amendment jurisprudence necessarily means that all jurisprudence in that arena is inherently fleeting. DonS I am not sure why you believe "libertarians" (those who support human civil rights as opposed to "Libertarians" with a big "L", a/k/a republicans who like to smoke weed) do not applaud this kick in the nuts to the death penalty. The death penalty, after all, is just another expensive & wasteful governmental program at odds with human liberty. - k

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#49)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:30:40 AM EST
    mfox.... You may not like that, BB. From your other comments you seem like a xenophobic sadist to me. No...I just don't believe in coddling criminals...no matter what their age. I wish you could explain your view to the man I just saw comment on the news that had his brother, his btother's girlfriend and her two children murdered by 2 - 16 year olds. (one of which slit a 6 year old girl's throat so he could watch her bleed) They will both be up for parole now at some point. (But those two little girls will NEVER have that chance!) Hope they move close to you!

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#50)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:33:31 AM EST
    Mfox... Can you (or any leftie on here) please explain to me why you are so set against punishing people who actually deserve it ,.... but have no qualms about aborting babies???? Makes NO sense to me...(or any other rational human being for that matter)

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#51)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:47:10 AM EST
    B.B. Actually I don't think abortion is moral. However, I don't think the way to reduce abortions is to make them illegal. Noone here is saying "lets coddle the prisoners and let the people on death row out." Why not life in prison with our parole? Personally I see no difference in murder and the death penalty. Both are wrong.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#52)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:03:55 PM EST
    If there were no 8th amendment, I dare say they'd be burning convicted murderers at the stake in Texas. For some, there is simply no limit to retribution; there is no punishment harsh enough. Think of the prosecutors arguing FOR the use of the electric chair -- killing the condemned by lethal injection was not good enough. The Constitution protects us from ourselves -- from what "our people's laws say about the issue." No, Justice Scalia, they do not matter. When we let "people's laws" trump constitutional protections, we end up with people like those in charge of Abu Ghraib torturing others to death, legally.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#53)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:41:24 PM EST
    You know, everyone here is saying "save them, save them, save them"..but what if a juvenile killed one of your loved ones, your mother, your father, your wife or husband...or even worse, one of your kids. I'm sure you'd be the first one in line "forgiving" them, after the funeral, of course. If they commit a SERIOUS crime, let the jury decide, 1st, if they should be tried as adults and 2nd, what their punishment should be. We spend so much money keeping these people in prison, never mind that they get to watch cable TV and get 3 square meals a day. That's money that can be spent on better things, like getting our veterans or homeless help.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#54)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:49:28 PM EST
    RW... If there were no 8th amendment, I dare say they'd be burning convicted murderers at the stake in Texas. OK...So? What's wrong with that? Why are some ways of killing more acceptable than others? I can't fathom why blowing someone's brains out or cutting them in half with an RPG is ok... but a nuclear bomb isn't??? Back in the old west they used to hang people. It was very effective and very cheap. I don't see a problem. If we were actually talking justice here, the death penalty should be the same way they committed the murder. Why is it we are so consumed with making sure cold blooded murderers are treated better than they deserve?

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#55)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:58:59 PM EST
    et al... Breaking news here in Chicago... A local teen has just shot & killed a bus driver. Nothing like taking advantage of a new law quickly!

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#56)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:59:02 PM EST
    B.B. You really don't see anything wrong with burning someone at the stake? May God have mercy on your soul.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#57)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:01:53 PM EST
    Steve A.... I they started a fire that killed someone...that's exactly how they should go! BTW - (don't believe in God)

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#58)
    by Sailor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:31:08 PM EST
    As promised, here are some links to "evolving standards": Trop v. Dulles(1958): Excerpt: The basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment is nothing less than the dignity of man. While the State has the power to punish, the Amendment stands to assure that this power be exercised within the limits of civilized standards.[snip]The Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." Nice debate here BB hates america, the constitution and probably himself.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#59)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:24:36 PM EST
    Sailor.. BB hates america, the constitution and probably himself. Hum Sailor...you know this to be fact huh? Funny how you lefties are so good at making sh*t up like this isn't it? I believe in an eye for an eye. That doesn't have anything to do with my love for America, the constitution, or myself. Get a clue. I will say this,....if you don't act civilized, you have no right to be treated that way!

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#60)
    by DonS on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:51:08 PM EST
    "I will say this,....if you don't act civilized, you have no right to be treated that way!" That way civilation will surely advance. Brilliant.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#61)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:59:48 PM EST
    Thanks for making my point BB. The 8th amendment was written because people like you who support the use of cruel and unusual punishment would have the state torturing some people to death and the founders decided they did not want that happening in America. How unbearable it must be for you that you oppose the fundamental concepts of civility and liberty underlying America and her Constitution. BTW, you ask "why are some ways of killing more acceptable than others?" Are you serious? In one breath, you pretend to consider whether killing is acceptable, but in another suggest burning someone at the stake is acceptable. Get real. No one here but you and the compassionate neocons said any form of killing is acceptable. The point is that some ways of killing are more cruel than others.

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#62)
    by Jay on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:33:19 PM EST
    The headline of the day: "Murderers Win"

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#63)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:13:35 PM EST
    Frank: How would you feel if a juvie killer killed a relative? I don't know, you don't know, but this guy does as does she. He is the president of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. She is the former chair of Murder Victim Family Members for Reconsideration. If you'd like to talk about this more, I would be glad to. - k

    Re: Supreme Court Bans Juvenile Death Penalty (none / 0) (#64)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:02:50 PM EST
    It makes me sick to see a bunch of men yacking away about their personal positions on abortion - honestly, stay out of it. You guys will never "personally" understand the physical and mental toll exacted by an unwanted pregnancy -- so maybe it's time to admit this is an area where you lack some expertise. I know you guys are just worried about the kids - right? Then start writing to your reps in DC about issues that affect living children (such as access to health care). Comments such as "I'm pro-choice but against abortion" really add nothing to the debate - I guess if you can't get pregnant, you can't have an abortion - so, it's really easy to be personally opposed on those facts.