Death Penalty For Youth Offenders Essay

1159 words - 5 pages

Founded in the Principles of Babalyonian in 1780 BCE, the Code of Hammurabi first
established the action of retalitation and retribution of "an eye for an eye." Over time punishment
theories have developed from retribution, detterence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and reform.
Regardless of this development the death penalty has been in existence as far back as history can tell.
The death penalty is a concept of retribution, it's a simple and swift answer to physical or
pyschological harm done to a person by the victim or victim's family. The only difference now
from ancient times is that the retribution is done by our legal system and not the victim's family.
It is facinating how society has enhanced to what is is today in all aspects of life, but we continue
to punish those who take part in crime in a manner that is uncivilized and inhumane. Not only is the death
penalty still being used across the globe and in our nation, but now is being introduced to youth offenders.
I firmly stand that the Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause of the eighth
amendment bars the imposition of the death penalty of juveniles.

The U.S. Constitution's eighth amendment states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, norexcessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." A number of state constitutions also adhere to
similar provisions. Our constituion created by our the founding fathers of our country clearly established
the eighth amendment to protect those committed of crimes. This begs the question, how is the death penalty
still part of the legal system and why has it not yet been found unconstitutional? Some suggest the best possible
answer is detterence. To discourage and prevent future crimes of homocide and violence. The death penalty
establishes a fear in the offenders mind that might prevent him from committing the crime. But in reality
murder crimes and violent crimes are more consistent with crimes of passion and sudden emotion.
Many are not planned thought out crimes, therefore detterence through the death penalty has minimal
detterence of violent crimes. The focus of our constitution in this issue is finding punishment through
justice not retribution.

In Roper v Simmons (2005) the Court debated whether it was cruel and unusual
punishment to execute a prisoner for a crime he committed when he was a minor. In previous
decisions, the Court had found it unconstitutional to execute offenders who were less than 16 at
the time of their crime, but had upheld executions of those 16 and 17 at the time of their crimes.
This demonstrates that in recent years youth offenders of ages 16 and 17 have been eligiable for
execution and many now await execution on death row. In the conclusion of the case of
Roper v Simmons the courts voted 5 to 4 on finding the execution of minors at the time of their crime
was a violation against evolving decency thus a violation of the eighth...

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