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Minors and the Death Penalty

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A. Should the death penalty be given to minors? The two groups against this issue, are the religious and medical groups. They believe they are too young to know what they have done. The medical groups believe adolescents are less developed than adults and should not be held to the same standards. . The opposing side, held mostly by state officials, feel if they are old enough to commit the crime they, old enough to get the punishment, including death.

B. The very first execution of a minor was in1642 with Thomas Graunger in Plymouth Colony, Massachesetts. In the three-hundred years since that time, a total of approximately 365 persons have been executed for juvenile crimes, constituting 1.8 percent of roughly twenty-thousand confirmed American executions since 1608. Twenty-two of these executions for juvenile crimes have been imposed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. These twenty-two recent executions of juvenile offenders make up about 2 percent of the total executions since 1976. The death penalty for juvenile offenders has uniquely become an American practice, in that, it appears to have been abandoned by nations everywhere else in large part due to the express provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and of several other international treaties and agreements

C. The reason this is a moral issue because the death of a human being is a moral issue, and if that human being is not even an adult, than it makes it an atrocity that he/she was put to death by are legal system that in all aspects is placed there for our protection. The punishment is for the criminal, but in reality the only people being punished is the family of the juvenile in question.

D. Capital punishment is more expensive than a life imprisonment sentence without the opportunity of parole. Florida spent an estimated $57 million on the death penalty from 1973 to 1988 to achieve eighteen executions, that is an average of $3.2 million per execution. It costs six times more to execute a person in Florida than to incarcerate a prisoner for life with no parole. The average cost of a capital trial in Florida is $3.2 million. A study found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of a non-death penalty murder case with a sentence of imprisonment for life. On a national basis, these figures translate to an extra cost of over seven hundred million dollars spent since 1976 on the death penalty.

E. A court case that dealt with the overturning of a death sentence to life imprisonment. The case was that of Kevin Stanford, the only juvenile offender on Kentucky's death row. Kevin's commutation is particularly significant, as it was his case in which a plurality of U.S. Supreme Court Justices held that it was not unconstitutional to execute sixteen and seventeen year-old offenders in Stanford v. Kentucky in 1989.


This site gave information on why juveniles should not be put to death for a crime they committed. It also discussed Roper v. Simmons trial which is going back in to discussions in October whether to overturn the decision of putting him to death.

This website is from the same host from above, but in this article it discusses a medical group that tries to abolish the death penalty, because adolescents are less developed than adults and should not be held to the same standards.

This website showed a study that found jurors very reluctant to give the death penalty to juvenile defendants



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