Minors and the Death Penalty

Essay by aroc18College, UndergraduateA-, November 2002

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Three Justices Question Execution of Minors

People come into this world everyday not knowing what to expect. Criminals know the potential out come of crimes and government sets the standards for punishments. The article Three Justices Question Execution of Minors posted by cnn.com but I am not sure who wrote it. This article is about the controversy between the sides of the question, "Is capital punishment constitutional especially when it comes to minors?"

The death penalty was used in England and Wales during 1900-1949. We interpreted into our laws as a suitable deterrent for heinous crimes. (Heinous crimes being: murder 1, rape, and sexual assault with murder on children.) Of the 38 States with the death penalty, 22 States allow the execution of offenders who committed capital crimes at 17. Of those 22, 17 States allow the execution of offenders who committed capital crimes at 16. Mentally retarded persons can not be sentenced to death in any State.

Toronto Patterson was 17 when he was arrested in connection with slaying a 25-year-old woman and her children, ages 6 and 3. Patterson pleaded not guilty and insists that he was innocent. After Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer issued statements before Patterson at 24, he was put to death in Huntsville, Texas by lethal injection. A majority of Supreme Court late Wednesday allowed Texas prison officials to proceed.

People that want the death penalty to come to an end argue that youths may be too immature to understand the gravity of theirs actions. Others that oppose are afraid of executing an innocent person. Our laws were created to protect the innocent that is why court proceedings take place and sides are heard. The majority of Americans are for the death penalty, those that oppose it are...