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This is explained in part by the prevailing circumstance that juveniles have less control, or less experience with control, over their own environment.
See Steinberg & Scott, Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence: Developmental Immaturity, Diminished Responsibility, and the Juvenile Death Penalty, 58 Am.
304, that the Eighth Amendment, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits the execution of a mentally retarded person. (a) The Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishments" must be interpreted according to its text, by considering history, tradition, and precedent, and with due regard for its purpose and function in the constitutional design. 302, 334, that the Eighth Amendment did not mandate a categorical exemption from the death penalty for mentally retarded persons because only two States had enacted laws banning such executions. The Court also returned to the rule, established in decisions predating at 319-320, the Court ruled that the death penalty constitutes an excessive sanction for the entire category of mentally retarded offenders, and that the Eighth Amendment places a substantive restriction on the State's power to take such an offender's life, . Although, by contrast to in that respect is counterbalanced by the consistent direction of the change toward abolition. (2) Rejection of the imposition of the death penalty on juvenile offenders under 18 is required by the Eighth Amendment. Their own vulnerability and comparative lack of control over their immediate surroundings mean juveniles have a greater claim than adults to be forgiven for failing to escape negative influences in their whole environment. The reality that juveniles still struggle to define their identity means it is less supportable to conclude that even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile is evidence of irretrievably depraved character. The same reasoning applies to all juvenile offenders under 18. 361 (1989), a divided Court rejected the proposition that the Constitution bars capital punishment for juvenile offenders in this age group. At the age of 17, when he was still a junior in high school, Christopher Simmons, the respondent here, committed murder.
In recognition of the comparative immaturity and irresponsibility of juveniles, almost every State prohibits those under 18 years of age from voting, serving on juries, or marrying without parental consent.Indeed, "[t]he relevance of youth as a mitigating factor derives from the fact that the signature qualities of youth are transient; as individuals mature, the impetuousness and recklessness that may dominate in younger years can subside." at 368; see also Steinberg & Scott 1014 ("For most teens, [risky or antisocial] behaviors are fleeting; they cease with maturity as individual identity becomes settled.Only a relatively small proportion of adolescents who experiment in risky or illegal activities develop entrenched patterns of problem behavior that persist into adulthood"). We conclude the same reasoning applies to all juvenile offenders under 18.Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source A false belief held despite strong evidence against it; self-deception. Because of his delusions, the literary character Don Quixote attacks a windmill, thinking it is a giant.At age 17, respondent Simmons planned and committed a capital murder. His direct appeal and subsequent petitions for state and federal postconviction relief were rejected. Simmons filed a new petition for state postconviction relief, arguing that ' reasoning established that the Constitution prohibits the execution of a juvenile who was under 18 when he committed his crime. 361, rejected the proposition that the Constitution bars capital punishment for juvenile offenders younger than 18, a national consensus has developed against the execution of those offenders since The Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid imposition of the death penalty on offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed. To implement this framework this Court has established the propriety and affirmed the necessity of referring to "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society" to determine which punishments are so disproportionate as to be "cruel and unusual." a 5-to-4 Court referred to contemporary standards of decency, but concluded the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments did not proscribe the execution of offenders over 15 but under 18 because 22 of 37 death penalty States permitted that penalty for 16-year-old offenders, and 25 permitted it for 17-year-olds, thereby indicating there was no national consensus. Three Terms ago in Court noted that objective indicia of society's standards, as expressed in pertinent legislative enactments and state practice, demonstrated that such executions had become so truly unusual that it was fair to say that a national consensus has developed against them. Indeed, the slower pace here may be explained by the simple fact that the impropriety of executing juveniles between 16 and 18 years old gained wide recognition earlier than the impropriety of executing the mentally retarded. Capital punishment must be limited to those offenders who commit "a narrow category of the most serious crimes" and whose extreme culpability makes them "the most deserving of execution." , 487 U. The plurality recognized the import of these characteristics with respect to juveniles under 16. Once juveniles' diminished culpability is recognized, it is evident that neither of the two penological justifications for the death penalty--retribution and deterrence of capital crimes by prospective offenders, , 536 U. This case requires us to address, for the second time in a decade and a half, whether it is permissible under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States to execute a juvenile offender who was older than 15 but younger than 18 when he committed a capital crime. About nine months later, after he had turned 18, he was tried and sentenced to death.
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(b) Both objective indicia of consensus, as expressed in particular by the enactments of legislatures that have addressed the question, and the Court's own determination in the exercise of its independent judgment, demonstrate that the death penalty is a disproportionate punishment for juveniles. Moreover, even in the 20 States without a formal prohibition, the execution of juveniles is infrequent.