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Stinger
03-01-2005, 09:23 AM
washingtonpost.com
Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Juveniles
By Hope Yen
Associated Press
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; 10:32 AM

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 Virginia and 18 other 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.

It was the second major defeat at the high court in three years for supporters of the death penalty. Justices in 2002 banned the execution of the mentally retarded, also citing the Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishments.

The court had already outlawed executions for those who were 15 and younger when they committed their crimes.

Tuesday's ruling prevents states from making 16- and 17-year-olds eligible for execution.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, noted that most states don't allow the execution of juvenile killers and those that do use the penalty infrequently. The trend, he noted, was to abolish the practice.

"Our society views juveniles ... as categorically less culpable than the average criminal," Kennedy wrote.

Juvenile offenders have been put to death in recent years in just a few other countries, including Iran, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia. All those countries have gone on record as opposing capital punishment for minors.

The Supreme Court has permitted states to impose capital punishment since 1976 and more than 3,400 inmates await execution in the 38 states that allow death sentences.

Justices were called on to draw an age line in death cases after Missouri's highest court overturned the death sentence given to a 17-year-old Christopher Simmons, who kidnapped a neighbor in Missouri, hog-tied her and threw her off a bridge. Prosecutors say he planned the burglary and killing of Shirley Crook in 1993 and bragged that he could get away with it because of his age.

The four most liberal justices had already gone on record in 2002, calling it "shameful" to execute juvenile killers. Those four, joined by Kennedy, also agreed with Tuesday's decision: Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as expected, voted to uphold the executions. They were joined by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Currently, Virginia and 18 other states allow executions for people under age 18: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Texas.

In a dissent, Scalia decried the decision, arguing that there has been no clear trend of declining juvenile executions to justify a growing consensus against the practice.

"The court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: 'In the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty,' he wrote in a 24-page dissent.

"The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation's moral standards," Scalia wrote.

© 2005 The Associated Press

Link (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62584-2005Mar1.html?sub=AR)

Mr. Kotter
03-01-2005, 09:28 AM
.

"The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation's moral standards," Scalia wrote.



Wow. Now there's some "news".... :rolleyes:

:shake:

It's a damn shame the SC keeps forgettin' they aren't God--at least they aren't supposed to be according to our Constitution.

Hell, let's dispense with State governments, legislatures, Congress, and the President--let's just let the courts make all our governmental decisions for us. :shake:

:banghead:

Amnorix
03-01-2005, 09:31 AM
Interesting. I'm in disagreement with this decision, but only mildly so. I suffer a continuing conflict on the death penalty issue.

Baby Lee
03-01-2005, 09:32 AM
Great!! A trend monitoring conception of Constitutionality. :banghead:

Cochise
03-01-2005, 09:39 AM
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, noted that most states don't allow the execution of juvenile killers and those that do use the penalty infrequently. The trend, he noted, was to abolish the practice.


Great... like Baby Lee said :banghead:

I dont know for sure what I think of the death penalty... but I damn sure know what I think about a judiciary rendering decisions based on TRENDS rather than interpreting the law. :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: :cuss:

Baby Lee
03-01-2005, 09:44 AM
Great... like Baby Lee said :banghead:

I dont know for sure what I think of the death penalty... but I damn sure know what I think about a judiciary rendering decisions based on TRENDS rather than interpreting the law. :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: :cuss:
I suppose under this standard, we'll indeed be seeing attacks on the 1st Amendment. I mean, that stupid poll of HS students where they said that 1st amendment protections went too far and that journalists should check with the govt before writing is evidence of a fugging TREND isn't it?
I'm an easygoing guy, and the key to my putting up with a lot of silliness from the populace is faith that the grownups, in this case the SC, are there to act as a backstop. Kinda falls apart when you see an opinion like this one.

memyselfI
03-01-2005, 09:45 AM
Bravo!!!! :thumb:

First they reversed the issue regarding the mentally retarded and now juveniles...hopefully the tide will continue to turn.

Mr. Kotter
03-01-2005, 09:57 AM
Bravo!!!! :thumb:

First they reversed the issue regarding the mentally retarded and now juveniles...hopefully the tide will continue to turn.

Especially after GW appoints 2-3 new justices. Heh. ;)

Heck, maybe next they'll decriminalize manslaughter and negligent homicide. :hmmm:

jettio
03-01-2005, 10:19 AM
If the analysis is what is "cruel and unusual punishment" seems that "trends" would be appropriate factors to consider.

Shaming punishments of putting people in stocks in the public square or banishment are unusual now, and it would certainly be "cruel and unusual" today for whipping and scourging people as they did slaves, soldiers, or conscripts, but those punishments were utilized before.

whoman69
03-01-2005, 10:29 AM
I'm for the death penalty, but executing juveniles is a tricky question. That said, to totally deny it is extreme. This should be done on a case by case basis. Some of the worst crimes are done by juveniles. I have no doubt that the mentally deficient should be above execution. Juveniles know what they are doing in most instances.

siberian khatru
03-01-2005, 10:40 AM
To preface:

1. Unlike some on this board, I am not a lawyer. Nor have I played one on TV. Nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

2. I am not hell-bent on executing minors. In fact, I'm not even hell-bent on the death penalty anymore (in that regard I'm like Amnorix). So I don't have an ideological ax to grind in that regard.

Having established that, I will say that I am uneasy with Justice Kennedy's referencing international law to support his majority opinion. He cites two international treaties, one unratified by the U.S., the other ratified in 1992 with an explicit exception made that the "United States reserves the right, subject to its Constitutional constraints, to impose capital punishment on any person (other than a pregnant woman) duly convicted under existing or future laws permitting the imposition of capital punishment, including such punishment for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age."

I think the Supremes should stick to relying on the Constitution, not treaties the U.S. is not a party to. I know this seems to be a fashionable trend in law circles, I'm aware of the arguments for it. I reject them. I just don't like it. I think it will lead us too far astray.

|Zach|
03-01-2005, 10:45 AM
I wouldn't have a problem either way this was ruled. I can see both sides and it is a push in my mind.

Amnorix
03-01-2005, 10:45 AM
Great... like Baby Lee said :banghead:

I dont know for sure what I think of the death penalty... but I damn sure know what I think about a judiciary rendering decisions based on TRENDS rather than interpreting the law. :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: :cuss:
They are interpreting the law. The question is meant by the "cruel and unusual" provision of the 8th Amendment?

In Hammurabi's day, "cruel and unusual" did NOT mean stoning, removing people's eyes (for an eye") or teeth (for a tooth).

At one point in England, the death penalty was applied for damn near every crime. Frequent public executions were the norm.

When interpreting the 8th amendment's cruel and unusual clause, the question isn't what was cruel and unusual in the late 1700s, but what is cruel and unusual now. If 49 states have banned X, and one state is still holding out on some potentially cruel and unusual practice, then that one state's practice is probably going to be struck down.

bkkcoh
03-01-2005, 10:46 AM
I'm for the death penalty, but executing juveniles is a tricky question. That said, to totally deny it is extreme. This should be done on a case by case basis. Some of the worst crimes are done by juveniles. I have no doubt that the mentally deficient should be above execution. Juveniles know what they are doing in most instances.


I would say that the USSC definitely has seemed to lose touch with reality. Juveniles today aren't at all like they were back in the 30's and 40's (when they were in this category). A line has to be drawn, but I strongly disagree with the line the court drew.

:banghead: :cuss:


2. I am not hell-bent on executing minors. In fact, I'm not even hell-bent on the death penalty anymore (in that regard I'm like Amnorix). So I don't have an ideological ax to grind in that regard.

I think it should truly be based on the crime and the ability to understand the crime, not just the age. That does open up a lot of interpretation and would bog down most court cases when going against these types of hurdles.



I think the Supremes should stick to relying on the Constitution, not treaties the U.S. is not a party to. I know this seems to be a fashionable trend in law circles, I'm aware of the arguments for it. I reject them. I just don't like it. I think it will lead us too far astray

Amen brother, they are the Supreme Court justices of the United States, not the World...... There was another case recently in which the USSC justices looked at other countries laws and help form a judgement. That is wrong in so many ways.

Amnorix
03-01-2005, 10:53 AM
For the record, in the 1700s and 1800s, the following punishments were used in England (and likely America) (and thus, presumably, following the arguments of many here, should be PERMITTED as NOT "cruel and unusual" under the Constitution):

Death penalty for any of the following: Murder, treason, coining money, arson, rape, sodomy, piracy, forgery, destroying ships, bankrupts concealing their possessions, highway robbery, house breaking, pick pocketing or stealing over 1s, shoplifting over 5s, stealing bonds or bills, stealing above 40s in any house, stealing linen, maiming cattle, shooting at a revenue officer, pulling down houses or churches, destroying a fishpond causing the loss of fish, cutting down trees in an avenue or garden, cutting down river banks, cutting hop binds, setting fire to corn or coal mines, concealing stolen goods, returning from transportation, stabbing an unarmed person, concealing the death of a bastard child, maiming a person, sending threatening letters, riots by 12 or more persons, stealing from a ship in distress, stealing horses, cattle or sheep, servants stealing more than 40s from their master, breaking bail or escaping from prison, attempting to kill privy councilors, sacrilege, armed smuggling, robbery of the mail, destruction of turnpikes or bridges.

BrandingThis was where the offender was scarred with a hot iron on the flesh part of the hand or on the cheek. A murderer would be branded with the letter 'M', vagrants with the letter 'V' and beggars with the letter 'S' for slave. A brawler may have had his ears amputated and branded with the letter 'F' for fighter.Branding and the amputation of ears were very early forms of punishment, which had been seemingly approved by the church, who even had their own mark 'SL' ('seditious libeller'). Branding was abolished for good in 1799. [note: after the Bill of Rights was adopted].The StocksThese were mainly used for petty offenders such as drunks who could not pay their fines. Sometimes a piece of paper stating the nature of the offence would be pinned to the prisoner for the public to see. The Stocks were abolished in 1821. [note: after the Bill of Rights was adopted]The PilloryThis was one of the most popular punishments of the later 17th century. The variety of offences that might be punished with the pillory was numerous and included: blasphemy, cheating at cards, fortune telling, blackmail, bestiality, homosexual offences and sexual offences against children. The Pillory was much like the stocks but the public was able to throw things at the person being held. many offenders sent to the pillory were lucky to escape with their lives and some did not especially when the crowd turned to throwing stones.The Pillory was eventually abolished in 1837. [note: after the Bill of Rights was adopted]Corporal PunishmentCorporal punishment was retained as a punishment for a lot longer than either the stocks or the pillory. The most common form of corporal punishment was whipping, which was the punishment for offences including petty theft, bigamy (being married to two people at the same time), assaulting, vagrancy, unmarried mothers or manslaughter.Offenders would be tied to a 'whipping post' and thrashed with a 'cat-o-nine-tails', which was a short handle whip with nine leather straps. In the beginning whipping had been a public punishment but by the middle of the 19th century it was mainly performed in the confines of the jail, and only on men. Under 16's could receive up to 25 strokes and those above, up to 50. Whipping as a form of punishment was not abandoned until after Word War I. [note, oh hell, you have the idea by now]http://www.smr.herefordshire.gov.uk/post-medieval/prisons/punishment.htm

DenverChief
03-01-2005, 10:58 AM
They are interpreting the law. The question is meant by the "cruel and unusual" provision of the 8th Amendment?

In Hammurabi's day, "cruel and unusual" did NOT mean stoning, removing people's eyes (for an eye") or teeth (for a tooth).

At one point in England, the death penalty was applied for damn near every crime. Frequent public executions were the norm.

When interpreting the 8th amendment's cruel and unusual clause, the question isn't what was cruel and unusual in the late 1700s, but what is cruel and unusual now. If 49 states have banned X, and one state is still holding out on some potentially cruel and unusual practice, then that one state's practice is probably going to be struck down.


Thank you...and only 18 states IIRC still executed Minors...

Amnorix
03-01-2005, 10:59 AM
Thank you...and only 18 states IIRC still executed Minors...
I didn't read the opinion, but that's 31-19, or only like 60 or so percent. That that big. But I bet they included stuff about how so few states are actually using the death penalty against minors, etc. I.e. that it has become rare.

edit: err....32-18. Note to self: Need to take that remedial reading class.

DenverChief
03-01-2005, 11:01 AM
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. 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." Trop v. Dulles,

DenverChief
03-01-2005, 11:07 AM
I didn't read the opinion, but that's 31-19, or only like 60 or so percent. That that big. But I bet they included stuff about how so few states are actually using the death penalty against minors, etc. I.e. that it has become rare.

edit: err....32-18. Note to self: Need to take that remedial reading class.


:LOL: yeah they did and I changed it from 19 to 18..your ok :)


(1) As in Atkins, the objective indicia of national consensus here--the rejection of the juvenile death penalty in the majority of States; the infrequency of its use even where it remains on the books; and the consistency in the trend toward abolition of the practice--provide sufficient evidence that today society views juveniles, in the words Atkins used respecting the mentally retarded, as "categorically less culpable than the average criminal," 536 U. S., at 316. The evidence of such consensus is similar, and in some respects parallel, to the evidence in Atkins: 30 States prohibit the juvenile death penalty, including 12 that have rejected it altogether and 18 that maintain it but, by express provision or judicial interpretation, exclude juveniles from its reach. Moreover, even in the 20 States without a formal prohibition, the execution of juveniles is infrequent. Although, by contrast to Atkins, the rate of change in reducing the incidence of the juvenile death penalty, or in taking specific steps to abolish it, has been less dramatic, the difference between this case and Atkins in that respect is counterbalanced by the consistent direction of the change toward abolition. 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. Pp. 10-13.

Mr. Kotter
03-01-2005, 11:16 AM
If the analysis is what is "cruel and unusual punishment" seems that "trends" would be appropriate factors to consider.

Shaming punishments of putting people in stocks in the public square or banishment are unusual now, and it would certainly be "cruel and unusual" today for whipping and scourging people as they did slaves, soldiers, or conscripts, but those punishments were utilized before.

Ah, the good ole days... ;)



(FTR, TIC)

Amnorix
03-01-2005, 11:28 AM
Ah, the good ole days... ;)



(FTR, TIC)

TIC I know. FTR? "For the record" or something?

DenverChief
03-01-2005, 11:34 AM
TIC I know. FTR? "For the record" or something?


si si amigo

Earthling
03-01-2005, 12:25 PM
I've never believed in an 'age' defense or a 'mental capacity' defense either...I figure if a 10 year old is a psychotic killer at that young age they will more than likely be a psycotic killer at age 18 and on...

jettio
03-01-2005, 04:23 PM
For the record, in the 1700s and 1800s, the following punishments were used in England (and likely America) (and thus, presumably, following the arguments of many here, should be PERMITTED as NOT "cruel and unusual" under the Constitution):

Death penalty for any of the following: Murder, treason, coining money, arson, rape, sodomy, piracy, forgery, destroying ships, bankrupts concealing their possessions, highway robbery, house breaking, pick pocketing or stealing over 1s, shoplifting over 5s, stealing bonds or bills, stealing above 40s in any house, stealing linen, maiming cattle, shooting at a revenue officer, pulling down houses or churches, destroying a fishpond causing the loss of fish, cutting down trees in an avenue or garden, cutting down river banks, cutting hop binds, setting fire to corn or coal mines, concealing stolen goods, returning from transportation, stabbing an unarmed person, concealing the death of a bastard child, maiming a person, sending threatening letters, riots by 12 or more persons, stealing from a ship in distress, stealing horses, cattle or sheep, servants stealing more than 40s from their master, breaking bail or escaping from prison, attempting to kill privy councilors, sacrilege, armed smuggling, robbery of the mail, destruction of turnpikes or bridges.

BrandingThis was where the offender was scarred with a hot iron on the flesh part of the hand or on the cheek. A murderer would be branded with the letter 'M', vagrants with the letter 'V' and beggars with the letter 'S' for slave. A brawler may have had his ears amputated and branded with the letter 'F' for fighter.Branding and the amputation of ears were very early forms of punishment, which had been seemingly approved by the church, who even had their own mark 'SL' ('seditious libeller'). Branding was abolished for good in 1799. [note: after the Bill of Rights was adopted].The StocksThese were mainly used for petty offenders such as drunks who could not pay their fines. Sometimes a piece of paper stating the nature of the offence would be pinned to the prisoner for the public to see. The Stocks were abolished in 1821. [note: after the Bill of Rights was adopted]The PilloryThis was one of the most popular punishments of the later 17th century. The variety of offences that might be punished with the pillory was numerous and included: blasphemy, cheating at cards, fortune telling, blackmail, bestiality, homosexual offences and sexual offences against children. The Pillory was much like the stocks but the public was able to throw things at the person being held. many offenders sent to the pillory were lucky to escape with their lives and some did not especially when the crowd turned to throwing stones.The Pillory was eventually abolished in 1837. [note: after the Bill of Rights was adopted]Corporal PunishmentCorporal punishment was retained as a punishment for a lot longer than either the stocks or the pillory. The most common form of corporal punishment was whipping, which was the punishment for offences including petty theft, bigamy (being married to two people at the same time), assaulting, vagrancy, unmarried mothers or manslaughter.Offenders would be tied to a 'whipping post' and thrashed with a 'cat-o-nine-tails', which was a short handle whip with nine leather straps. In the beginning whipping had been a public punishment but by the middle of the 19th century it was mainly performed in the confines of the jail, and only on men. Under 16's could receive up to 25 strokes and those above, up to 50. Whipping as a form of punishment was not abandoned until after Word War I. [note, oh hell, you have the idea by now]http://www.smr.herefordshire.gov.uk/post-medieval/prisons/punishment.htm

Leave it to Amno to turn a serious discusion about Constitutional law into a thread appealing only to the prurient interest. NTTAWWT.

Further, this thread is now rendered worthless without pics, and it will remain ever thus unless some of the images of the pilloried and scourged are of subjects younger than 18, since that was the original topic of the thread.

WoodDraw
03-02-2005, 12:34 AM
I'm somewhat split on this but I'm leaning pretty heavily towards agreeing with O'Conner's dissent and, to a less extent, Scalia's.

The phrase "cruel and unusual" originally comes from the English Bill of Rights and was interpreted as disallowing punishments "unauthorized by statute and beyond the jurisdiction of the court, as well as those disproportionate to the offense committed". The United States form of this in the Eighth Amendment was directed mainly at disallowing "'tortures' and other 'barbarous' methods of punishment". Today's accepted interpretation of the Eighth Amendment is that a punishment is cruel and unusual if it was considered cruel and unusual at the time the Eighth Amendment was passed or if modern "standards of decency" deem it so.

So the question, of course, is how do you decide what the modern standards of decency are? For the Amendment to be of any relevance in today's society, the courts must move beyond the Common Law definition from the late 1700s and include what is now modernly accepted as "cruel and unusual". In the past, the Supreme Court has accepted two majors sources when deciding whether something violates our "modern standards of decency": legislation and the actions of sentencing juries. The Supreme Court is not limited solely to those two sources but must use them as guidelines in order to avoid ruling based on the opinion of five justices and not on constitutional law.

Twelve states plus Washington D.C. do not have the death penalty in any form, eighteen states allow the death penalty but prohibit it for those under 18 years of age, and the remaining twenty allow the death penalty to be carried out to some extent against those under the age of 18. Of these twenty states, only six have executed a person under the age of 18 in the last sixteen years it has been allowed. Including only the states that authorize the death penalty in some form, 47% do not allow it for those under the age of 18. Including all fifty states (which Scalia argues against doing), the percentage falls to 36%. Over seventy people under the age of 18 are on death row.

The fact that there is at least a moderate level of juveniles on death row supports the idea that sentencing juries still have some level of support for the execution of minors. Whether or not a national consensus exists is more debatable but I'd argue against it. When looking at the states with some form of the death penalty, less than half have laws against execution those under the age of 18. Even when considering the states that do not have the death penalty in any form, there still is not a two-thirds majority. There is no apparent trend that shows the remaining states moving towards disallowing the death penalty for those under 18.

I would personally love for capital punishment to become unconstitutional in all forms but that has to come through an amendment or through an obvious shift in our standards of decency. The decision today skips around this idea and instead seems to be based on the personal opinions of the individual justices with irrelevant or inconclusive evidence offered up as proof.

Amnorix
03-02-2005, 08:45 AM
I've never believed in an 'age' defense or a 'mental capacity' defense either...I figure if a 10 year old is a psychotic killer at that young age they will more than likely be a psycotic killer at age 18 and on...
It's an ancient concept in British/American law. Crimes are classified in part based on your mental state. "Intent" is critical to proving certain crimes. Criminal Law 101 talks about the "mens rea" (state of mind) and the actus reus (the act). You need both to commit a crime. Think about killing someone, but don't act on it -- no crime. Kill someone without any intent to do so, and it's not "murder", it's something else (manslaughter, perhaps).

Without getting too deep into it, the rule also applies to youngsters. Less than 7, I think is standard, and BY LAW you couldn't have understood your actions well enough to "intend" to kill someone, for example, so it's literally impossible to commit murder when you're that young. Between 7-13 or something and you've got a different problem (I don't remember how it all works now).

But anyway -- it's one of the basic concepts in British/US criminal law. You may disagree, that's fine, but it really is one fo the building blocks of our criminal justice system.

bkkcoh
03-02-2005, 10:27 AM
<a href="http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/Pending/02/jun02.htm" target="_blank">link</a>



In early September 1993, Simmons then 17, discussed with his friends, Charlie Benjamin (age 15) and John Tessmer (age 16), the possibility of committing a burglary and murdering someone. On several occasions, Simmons described the manner in which he planned to commit the crime: he would find someone to burglarize, tie the victim up, and ultimately push the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends that their status as juveniles would allow them to "get away with it." Simmons apparently believed that a "voodoo man" who lived in a nearby trailer park would be the best victim. Rumor had it that the voodoo man owned hotels and motels and had lots of money despite his residence in a mobile home park. On September 8, 1993, Simmons arranged to meet Benjamin and Tessmer at around 2:00 a.m. the following morning for the purpose of carrying out the plan. The boys met at the home of Brian Moomey, a 29-year old convicted felon who allowed neighbor teens to "hang out" at his home. Tessmer met Simmons and Benjamin, but refused to go with them and returned to his own home. Simmons and Benjamin left Moomey’s and went to Shirley Crook’s house to commit a burglary. The two found a back window cracked open at the rear of Crook’s home. They opened the window, reached through, unlocked the back door, and entered the house. Moving through the house, Simmons turned on a hallway light. The light awakened Shirley, who was home alone. She sat up in bed and asked, "Who’s there?" Simmons entered her bedroom and recognized Shirley as a woman with whom he had previously had an automobile accident. Shirley apparently recognized him as well. Simmons ordered Shirley out of her bed and on to the floor with Benjamin’s help. While Benjamin guarded Shirley in the bedroom, Simmons found a roll of duct tape, returned to the bedroom and bound her hands behind her back. They also taped her eyes and mouth shut. They walked Shirley from her home and placed her in the back of her mini-van. Simmons drove the can from Shirley’s home in Jefferson County to Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County. At the park, Simmons drove the van to a railroad trestle that spanned the Meramec River. Simmons parked the van near the railroad trestle. He and Benjamin began to unload Shirley from the van and discovered that she had freed her hands and had removed some of the duct tape from her face. Using her purse strap, the belt from her bathrobe, a towel from the back of the van, and some electrical wire found on the trestle, Simmons and Benjamin bound Shirley, restraining her hands and feet and covering her head with the towel. Simmons and Benjamin walked Shirley to the railroad trestle. There, Simmons bound her hands and feet together, hog-tie fashion, with the electrical cable and covered Shirley’s face completely with duct tape. Simmons then pushed her off the railroad trestle into the river below. At the time she fell, Shirley was alive and conscious. Simmons and Benjamin then threw Shirley’s purse in to the woods and drove the van back to the mobile home park across from the subdivision in which she lived. Her body was found later that afternoon by two fishermen. Simmons was arrested the next day, September 10, at his high school.

If this guy doesn't deserve the death penalty, who does. I can't stand it when it seems as if the rights of the victims and justice is forgotten or turned away.

patteeu
03-02-2005, 10:39 AM
Here is a very good Tony Blankley column on the decision:

Black robes and betrayal
Tony Blankley (http://www.townhall.com/columnists/tonyblankley/tb20050302.shtml)

March 2, 2005

The United States Supreme Court has struck again -- this time overturning by a 5-4 decision, all statutes that apply the death sentence to 16- and 17 year old murderers.

As a former prosecutor I am convinced that from time to time juries find before them 16- or 17-year-old defendants who understand full well the vicious nature of their murders and deserve -- after receiving the full panoply of due process -- to be fried, gassed, hanged, shot, injected or otherwise sent promptly to hell.

Even if you are of a sympathetic nature and believe that the little 17-year-old darlings deserve to be rehabilitated, you might still find this Supreme Court opinion stomach turning for its sheer disdain of logic, public attitudes and American law.

But first: The crime, as described yesterday by Justice Kennedy in Roper v. Simmons, writing for the majority:

At the age of 17, when he was still a junior in high school, Christopher Simmons ... committed murder ... There is little doubt that Simmons was the instigator of the crime. Before its commission, Simmons said he wanted to murder someone. In chilling, callous terms he talked about his plan with his friends ... Simmons proposed to commit burglary and murder by breaking and entering, tying up a victim and throwing the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends they could "get away with it" because they were minors.

A few hours later, he proceeded to do just that, breaking into a home, covering the victim's head in a towel, wrapping her up in duct tape and tying her hands and legs together with electrical wire. Then he drove her to a bridge and threw her off into the water, where helpless, she drowned.

The question before the Supreme Court was whether this presented a case of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment to our Constitution. No, the court was not concerned with whether being assaulted in your home, wrapped in a towel, duct tape and electrical wire, and thrown off a bridge was cruel and unusual punishment. That's OK. The Court is only concerned with whether it was cruel and unusual to execute the strapping 17-year-old murderer who did it.

The gist of the majority's analysis is that whether the crime is constitutionally "unusual" depends on whether "evolving standards of decency" have reached the point in our history when such punishment has been clearly rejected by society.

It happens that only 15 years ago, the Supreme Court found that the kind of statute in question was constitutional. But, rather than overturning that case, yesterday, the court found that in the last 15 years, a national consensus against such punishment had emerged.

The majority based that conclusion on the fact that "18 states -- or 47 percent of states that permit capital punishment -- now have legislation prohibiting the execution of offenders under 18," and four of those states have adopted such legislation since the Supreme Court's ruling of 15 years ago.

As Justice Anton Scalia fumed in his dissent: "Words have no meaning if the views of less than 50 percent of death penalty States can constitute a national consensus. Our previous cases have required overwhelming opposition to a challenged practice, generally over a long period of time." In this case, a majority of relevant states approve the practice.

Recognizing that they were arguing a rather weak set of facts regarding a national consensus, the majority supplemented its argument with the self-aggrandizing assertion that "In the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment." Outrageously, the court asserts such power because, as Justice Scalia characterized, "juries cannot be trusted with the delicate task of weighing a defendant's youth along with other mitigating factors." This assertion, of course, undermines "the very foundations of our capital sentencing system."

The majority, still sensing its arguments to be rather feeble, went on to try to buttress their case further by citing a menagerie of international treaties and foreign laws, claiming: "The opinion of the world community, while not controlling our outcome, does provide respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions."

In support thereof they cited, inter alia, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty before signing which the United States Government expressly reserved "the right ... to impose capital punishment on any person (other than a pregnant woman) ... "

patteeu
03-02-2005, 10:44 AM
Thank you...and only 18 states IIRC still executed Minors...

Nonetheless, that was a majority of the states who permit the death penalty. I understand the argument Amnorix and others are making, but executing near-adults who are clearly aware of the extreme wrongness of their actions and, in fact, are diabolically counting on the fact that they are technically still juveniles to get off easy is far from a cruel and unusual practice if you ask me.

patteeu
03-02-2005, 11:00 AM
In response to the suggestion that just because the practice of executing minors (if not the law allowing it) has become more rare, that it might be reasonable to consider it "cruel and unusual.":

Some argue in favor of the death penalty for it's alleged deterrent affect. If someone were to come up with a marketing scheme, for example, that made that deterrent even more effective (and therefore the actual application of the death penalty more rare) should that be a reason to abolish the penalty? Of course not.

Some argue that the death penalty should only be used in the most extreme cases. For example, instead of executing all 17 year olds who commit murder, one might argue that we should only execute those who demonstrate unmistakeably that they understand the full extent of the wrongness of their actions. This attempt to avoid executing minors who haven't developed a full understanding of (and therefore responsibility for) the consequences of their actions would also make the death penalty more rare. Is that a good reason to abolish it? Again, I think not.

I don't have too big of a problem with modifying our view of what constitutes cruel and unusual over time. But I do have a big problem with the courts leading the social revolution or, as in this case perhaps, jumping in to short circuit the evolutionary legislative process of implementing that change. It's not clear to me that this detected "trend" had reached the point that the court was just implementing an inevitable conclusion or if the trend was really just a swing of the pendulum that would have eventually trended back the other way.

The court should apply the "cruel and unusual" clause to strike down new laws that deviate from the established norms of society. They shouldn't use it to hasten trends that happen to be moving in the direction of their own personal opinions.

Amnorix
03-02-2005, 11:55 AM
If this guy doesn't deserve the death penalty, who does. I can't stand it when it seems as if the rights of the victims and justice is forgotten or turned away.

It's stuff like this that causes me to be constantly conflicted about the death penalty.

On one level I know that studies have proven that it does not deter crime. It also does not seem to be what a government ought to be in the business of doing. It's main rationale is one of revenge and retribution, which doesn't seem too admirable.

But on the other hand, you've got pricks like this that deserve it. You also have instances like that case in Georgia back in the 70s or 80s that led to an improtant SC decision (don't remember which one). Basically, the guy was a lifer in prison, with no chance of parole. He escaped prison, assaulting (killing?) a guard on the way out. He broke into a home, raped and murdered some/all of a family that was there, and later on got caught again.

If there's no death penalty, all you can do is put him back in prison without any chance of parole, which was EXACTLY where he was before he did all this stuff. :spock: WTF? Somehow, I just can't accept that kind of result.

Which is why I now support the death penalty (I was moderately opposed during my college / law school years until I came across cases like this).

DenverChief
03-02-2005, 12:22 PM
Nonetheless, that was a majority of the states who permit the death penalty. I understand the argument Amnorix and others are making, but executing near-adults who are clearly aware of the extreme wrongness of their actions and, in fact, are diabolically counting on the fact that they are technically still juveniles to get off easy is far from a cruel and unusual practice if you ask me.


I don't disagree with you and in this case after readin what the kid had done and how he bragged about geting away with it he should be executed...that being said I'm sure some skinhead or gangsta thug is gonna find he has a nice pretty lil ass with a satin tounge....that my friend is worse than execution....especially since they don't sell lube in the commissary ;)

Amnorix
03-02-2005, 12:27 PM
I don't disagree with you and in this case after readin what the kid had done and how he bragged about geting away with it he should be executed...that being said I'm sure some skinhead or gangsta thug is gonna find he has a nice pretty lil ass with a satin tounge....that my friend is worse than execution....especially since they don't sell lube in the commissary ;)
:Lin: :Lin:

Baby Lee
03-02-2005, 12:34 PM
I don't disagree with you and in this case after readin what the kid had done and how he bragged about geting away with it he should be executed...that being said I'm sure some skinhead or gangsta thug is gonna find he has a nice pretty lil ass with a satin tounge....that my friend is worse than execution....especially since they don't sell lube in the commissary ;)
Not be some kind of Sean-Penn-Oscars killjoy, but I've never understood the stance that "the death penalty is cruel and unusual, . . . and banning it is OK because then he'll get buttf*cked for life."

mlyonsd
03-02-2005, 12:49 PM
Not be some kind of Sean-Penn-Oscars killjoy, but I've never understood the stance that "the death penalty is cruel and unusual, . . . and banning it is OK because then he'll get buttf*cked for life."

Exactly.

siberian khatru
03-02-2005, 12:50 PM
Not be some kind of Sean-Penn-Oscars killjoy, but I've never understood the stance that "the death penalty is cruel and unusual, . . . and banning it is OK because then he'll get buttf*cked for life."

That's because in DC's case it's neither cruel nor unusual.

:p

DenverChief
03-02-2005, 01:10 PM
Not be some kind of Sean-Penn-Oscars killjoy, but I've never understood the stance that "the death penalty is cruel and unusual, . . . and banning it is OK because then he'll get buttf*cked for life."


its becasue you wouldn't understand what that feels like...thats okay you don't need to but trust me getting it in the brown hole (and being nice about it) with no lube is like getting kicked in the nuts...now imagine that this is a rape situation where the agressor give less than 2 cents how painful it is just shut up and take it....that has got to be the worst pain evar

Baby Lee
03-02-2005, 01:15 PM
its becasue you wouldn't understand what that feels like...thats okay you don't need to but trust me getting it in the brown hole (and being nice about it) with no lube is like getting kicked in the nuts...now imagine that this is a rape situation where the agressor give less than 2 cents how painful it is just shut up and take it....that has got to be the worst pain evar
No, I get that it's certain to be painful. I don't get the "don't kill him, That's mean. Inflict pain and embarassment on him for life instead."
If a guy is imprisoned for life, I want him serving the time sentenced. I don't want a wink and a nod to assault to or from his fellow inmates.

DenverChief
03-02-2005, 01:18 PM
No, I get that it's certain to be painful. I don't get the "don't kill him, That's mean. Inflict pain and embarassment on him for life instead."
If a guy is imprisoned for life, I want him serving the time sentenced. I don't want a wink and a nod to assault to or from his fellow inmates.


Well I assure you life without parole means that he will never taste his favortie alcohol again nor ever get any poonanny...I dunno I'm still in the same boat with you about the executions ...I think he is the poster child for executable....IMO the Death penalty should be used sparingly...

Mr. Kotter
03-02-2005, 01:37 PM
... poonanny.....

:spock:

"Poontang" I've heard; "poonanny" is that you folks call it.... ROFL

DenverChief
03-02-2005, 02:03 PM
:spock:

"Poontang" I've heard; "poonanny" is that you folks call it.... ROFL


you folks?

lemme ask you pop, soda or coke?

Garcia Bronco
03-02-2005, 02:10 PM
Message to the Supreme Court:

DIE ALREADY!

geeze

DenverChief
03-02-2005, 05:02 PM
Message to the Supreme Court:

DIE ALREADY!

geeze


it would be nice to see Rhenquist keel over ;)

KCWolfman
03-02-2005, 05:05 PM
Bravo!!!! :thumb:

First they reversed the issue regarding the mentally retarded and now juveniles...hopefully the tide will continue to turn.
Hopefully the murderers move in your neighborhood and not mine.

KCWolfman
03-02-2005, 05:06 PM
If the analysis is what is "cruel and unusual punishment" seems that "trends" would be appropriate factors to consider.

Shaming punishments of putting people in stocks in the public square or banishment are unusual now, and it would certainly be "cruel and unusual" today for whipping and scourging people as they did slaves, soldiers, or conscripts, but those punishments were utilized before.
But locking them up for life in a criminal instution full of thugs and rapists is not?

KCWolfman
03-02-2005, 05:09 PM
I don't disagree with you and in this case after readin what the kid had done and how he bragged about geting away with it he should be executed...that being said I'm sure some skinhead or gangsta thug is gonna find he has a nice pretty lil ass with a satin tounge....that my friend is worse than execution....especially since they don't sell lube in the commissary ;)
So you don't mind torturing human beings, but you don't want to make society safer without the same human beings?

jettio
03-02-2005, 05:12 PM
RE: the Simmons case.

Interesting how Blankley has to call Simmons the "instigator" as if the 15 year old killer-accomplice's actions do not warrant the death penalty in his criminal coddling conservative eyes.

Since the 15 year old is already exempt from the death penalty, no matter what yesterday's ruling is, seems a bit ridiculous to get hysterical arguing that the 17 year old gets whacked by the state when his partner in the same crime can't be subject to the same.

WoodDraw
03-02-2005, 11:04 PM
So you don't mind torturing human beings, but you don't want to make society safer without the same human beings?

How does killing a person make society any safer than putting that same person in prison for life?

patteeu
03-02-2005, 11:46 PM
RE: the Simmons case.

Interesting how Blankley has to call Simmons the "instigator" as if the 15 year old killer-accomplice's actions do not warrant the death penalty in his criminal coddling conservative eyes.

Since the 15 year old is already exempt from the death penalty, no matter what yesterday's ruling is, seems a bit ridiculous to get hysterical arguing that the 17 year old gets whacked by the state when his partner in the same crime can't be subject to the same.

Brilliant, if you take along a youngster on your killing spree, it should innoculate you from the death penalty because the youngster is exempt! You're a genius. :rolleyes:

patteeu
03-02-2005, 11:47 PM
How does killing a person make society any safer than putting that same person in prison for life?

Well, here's one way:

...

You also have instances like that case in Georgia back in the 70s or 80s that led to an improtant SC decision (don't remember which one). Basically, the guy was a lifer in prison, with no chance of parole. He escaped prison, assaulting (killing?) a guard on the way out. He broke into a home, raped and murdered some/all of a family that was there, and later on got caught again.

If there's no death penalty, all you can do is put him back in prison without any chance of parole, which was EXACTLY where he was before he did all this stuff. :spock: WTF? Somehow, I just can't accept that kind of result.

...

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 06:37 AM
How does killing a person make society any safer than putting that same person in prison for life?
Let's ask the cops family in Texas that was killed by the convicted murderer that escaped from prison. I bet you wouldn't be able to ask his pre-teen kids with a straight face.

Boozer
03-03-2005, 07:11 AM
But locking them up for life in a criminal instution full of thugs and rapists is not?

Well, it's certainly not unusual.. It's not "cruel or unusual."

jettio
03-03-2005, 07:23 AM
Brilliant, if you take along a youngster on your killing spree, it should innoculate you from the death penalty because the youngster is exempt! You're a genius. :rolleyes:

I am obviously not genius enough to use the words that would enable a former Libertarian to comprehend what I is trying to say.

If you could look beyond the tears of your being booted out by the Libs for your recent embrace of more powerful government, you could actually re-read my post and understand the point being made.

Duck Dog
03-03-2005, 09:40 AM
Bravo!!!! :thumb:

First they reversed the issue regarding the mentally retarded and now juveniles...hopefully the tide will continue to turn.

Ahh yes, Liberal Democrats;

They want to keep their right to kill and murder innocent babies, but want to protect the lives of killers and murderers.

patteeu
03-03-2005, 09:56 AM
I am obviously not genius enough to use the words that would enable a former Libertarian to comprehend what I is trying to say.

If you could look beyond the tears of your being booted out by the Libs for your recent embrace of more powerful government, you could actually re-read my post and understand the point being made.

Obviously not. You certainly is having trouble with words.

jettio
03-03-2005, 10:29 AM
Obviously not. You certainly is having trouble with words.

T'was intentional my friend, please don't call your new jackbooted friends on the grammar police.

I may have actually misread the Blankley post and attributed Kennedy's words to Blankley, so I now must take great pride in being as stupid as the best and the worst amongst us.

:)

go bowe
03-03-2005, 11:26 AM
Brilliant, if you take along a youngster on your killing spree, it should innoculate you from the death penalty because the youngster is exempt! You're a genius. :rolleyes:shhhhh...

don't give him any ideas...

oops, that was his idea, wasn't it? ROFL ROFL ROFL

go bowe
03-03-2005, 11:29 AM
Obviously not. You certainly is having trouble with words.ROFL ROFL ROFL

sho'nuff...

patteeu
03-03-2005, 12:54 PM
T'was intentional my friend, please don't call your new jackbooted friends on the grammar police.

I may have actually misread the Blankley post and attributed Kennedy's words to Blankley, so I now must take great pride in being as stupid as the best and the worst amongst us.

:)

I is just having fun (and I actually do believe it was intentional, but I couldn't resist). I didn't get a chance to steal from the poor to give to the rich today so I'm grumpy. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go shine my jackboots. :)

patteeu
03-03-2005, 12:57 PM
The court is going crazy with this reliance on foreign law/custom ROFL :

Court Backs 3-Oxen Dowries
WASHINGTON, DC - In a far-reaching decision that will likely create complicated consequences for the American livestock and wedding-planning industries, the Supreme Court this morning ruled 5-4 that all US marriage dowries "must include three non-diseased oxen."

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited "the weight of the expansive penumbra surrounding the historically emerging and prevailing opinions of tribal shamans from Lesotho to Myanamar" in issuing the historic ruling in American Cattleman Association vs. Modern Bride, Helverson, et al.

In a scathing and sometimes caustic dissent, Judge Antonin Scalia wrote that "Holy. Freakin'. Shit."

The American Civil Liberties Union, which had filed an amicus brief in the case, praised the decision as "an important first step in insuring that American grooms will eventually share the same access to bovine property rights as the rest of the international community."

"The decision underscores the principle of Federalism by creating uniformity in our notoriously inconsistent state dowry laws," noted Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe. "For example, Iowa grooms are entitled to $300 and a two-night honeymoon trip to the Wisconsin Dells, while just across the border in Missouri, grooms only get $200 and a set of air shocks for their TransAm. Thankfully, the Court has brought some sanity to the situation."

Besides expanding the rights of male clanspeople in dowry disputes, the sweeping 600 page Supreme Court opinion clarified U.S. law across a broad spectrum of civil, economic and traffic codes. Among the highlights:

Citing EU and Belgian case law, the Court declared that signage on U.S. Interstate Highways must be translated to both French and Flemish by 2007.

The Court also reconciled a number of conflicting Japanese/US traffic standards, ruling that starting Friday, motorists may drive on either side of American roads.

In another civil finding, the Court noted prevailing Nepalese-Canadian-Yemeni standards in opening the way for legalized stonings at arranged gay marriages.

The ruling overturned a 7th Circuit decision by declaring "The First Rule of Fight Club" unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

By a 5-4 margin, it reversed death sentences for prisoners convicted of crimes committed while juveniles; however, the Court ruled that states may voluntarily terminate prisoners as "extremely late-term abortions" under Roe v. Wade.

Overturning a previous decision by a European panel, the Court declared Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg winner of the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest.

In a surprise finding, the Court ruled itself unconstitional; but, citing the tradition of international courts ignoring US court rulings, said that this ruling itself was unconstitutional.

Attorneys for defendant John Helverson said their client "would make a good faith effort" to comply with the decision, and said he was already constructing an oxen feedlot in the back yard of his Glendale, CA home in anticipation of the May wedding of his daughter Ashley, 25.

"Though we are disappointed, we and Mr. Helverson respect the Court's decision," said attorney Mark Epstein. "With another case under review, we can't afford a contempt citation."

In a related case, the Court is expected to rule sometime in late March whether Ashley Helverson and fiance Jason Garcia can be extradited to Saudi Arabia to face the death penalty for fornication.

*** attributed to someone named IowaHawk on another discussion board, but no link was available and google failed me. ***

Baby Lee
03-03-2005, 01:48 PM
Iowa grooms are entitled to $300 and a two-night honeymoon trip to the Wisconsin Dells, while just across the border in Missouri, grooms only get $200 and a set of air shocks for their TransAm. Thankfully, the Court has brought some sanity to the situation."
Funny

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 03:09 PM
Let's ask the cops family in Texas that was killed by the convicted murderer that escaped from prison. I bet you wouldn't be able to ask his pre-teen kids with a straight face.

So one person escaped jail and murdered again so we kill hundreds more? Prison security and capital punishment are two different issues that need to be handled seperately. To say that killing someone is an acceptable solution to prison security just seems ridiculous to me.

go bowe
03-03-2005, 03:35 PM
So one person escaped jail and murdered again so we kill hundreds more? Prison security and capital punishment are two different issues that need to be handled seperately. To say that killing someone is an acceptable solution to prison security just seems ridiculous to me.i'm not speaking for kcwolfman, but i don't see anybody saying that capital punishment is a solution to prison security problems...

how 'bout using the example of a convicted murder who is in prison on life without parole, and then murders while in prison? how do you punish them?

or when there is direct and irrefutable dna evidence or other certain evidence of guilt in cases involving torture and murder?

or when it's a law enforcement officer?

or when it's juveniles who knowingly commit murders at the behest of others (who are adults)?

and so on...

the issue is whether or not there are/should be exceptions to a general ban on capital punishments, or whether there should be a general ban on capital punishment at all...

personally, i'm slowly leaning towards having some exceptions to the general rule against capital punishment with very limited cases, like the convict already in for life, etc. ...

and i'd prefer more flexibilty for trial courts and juries to determine whether a juvenile should be subject to the death penalty rather than basing it on some arbitrary chronological age...

setting a specific age doesn't account for the wide variations in development amongst younger offenders, some are much more "adult" than others, particularly in terms of their criminal behavior...

nor does it allow for exceptions in particularly egregious cases...

i guess i disagree with the supremes on this one (mr kotter, where are you?)...

Baby Lee
03-03-2005, 03:44 PM
I am repeating myself from prior discussions, but I haven't seen it on this thread yet.

I support the death penalty primarily as something that can be 'taken off the table.' You need something out there so final and stark that the threat of it;
urges the cooperation of the criminal, cutting down on litigation.
or
puts a leash on people for whom all other deterrents are useless, such as the above mentioned lifers.

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 06:49 PM
Well, it's certainly not unusual.. It's not "cruel or unusual."
I wish the SC had thought the same way. After all, it wasn't unusual to execute a minor who committed murder before 2005, was it?

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 06:51 PM
So one person escaped jail and murdered again so we kill hundreds more? Prison security and capital punishment are two different issues that need to be handled seperately. To say that killing someone is an acceptable solution to prison security just seems ridiculous to me.
patteau also pointed out another murderer who killed.

So you are for spending more money on locking up criminals with other criminals for the rest of their natural life with no hope of release, and that seems "acceptable" to you? Do you enjoy torturing others, or had you just not thought it through?

DanT
03-03-2005, 07:11 PM
I'm somewhat split on this but I'm leaning pretty heavily towards agreeing with O'Conner's dissent and, to a less extent, Scalia's.

The phrase "cruel and unusual" originally comes from the English Bill of Rights and was interpreted as disallowing punishments "unauthorized by statute and beyond the jurisdiction of the court, as well as those disproportionate to the offense committed". The United States form of this in the Eighth Amendment was directed mainly at disallowing "'tortures' and other 'barbarous' methods of punishment". Today's accepted interpretation of the Eighth Amendment is that a punishment is cruel and unusual if it was considered cruel and unusual at the time the Eighth Amendment was passed or if modern "standards of decency" deem it so.

So the question, of course, is how do you decide what the modern standards of decency are? For the Amendment to be of any relevance in today's society, the courts must move beyond the Common Law definition from the late 1700s and include what is now modernly accepted as "cruel and unusual". In the past, the Supreme Court has accepted two majors sources when deciding whether something violates our "modern standards of decency": legislation and the actions of sentencing juries. The Supreme Court is not limited solely to those two sources but must use them as guidelines in order to avoid ruling based on the opinion of five justices and not on constitutional law.

Twelve states plus Washington D.C. do not have the death penalty in any form, eighteen states allow the death penalty but prohibit it for those under 18 years of age, and the remaining twenty allow the death penalty to be carried out to some extent against those under the age of 18. Of these twenty states, only six have executed a person under the age of 18 in the last sixteen years it has been allowed. Including only the states that authorize the death penalty in some form, 47% do not allow it for those under the age of 18. Including all fifty states (which Scalia argues against doing), the percentage falls to 36%. Over seventy people under the age of 18 are on death row.

The fact that there is at least a moderate level of juveniles on death row supports the idea that sentencing juries still have some level of support for the execution of minors. Whether or not a national consensus exists is more debatable but I'd argue against it. When looking at the states with some form of the death penalty, less than half have laws against execution those under the age of 18. Even when considering the states that do not have the death penalty in any form, there still is not a two-thirds majority. There is no apparent trend that shows the remaining states moving towards disallowing the death penalty for those under 18.

I would personally love for capital punishment to become unconstitutional in all forms but that has to come through an amendment or through an obvious shift in our standards of decency. The decision today skips around this idea and instead seems to be based on the personal opinions of the individual justices with irrelevant or inconclusive evidence offered up as proof.

Excellent post!

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 07:17 PM
So you are for spending more money on locking up criminals with other criminals for the rest of their natural life with no hope of release, and that seems "acceptable" to you?

Well the cost of life in prison is still less, and usually significantly less, than the cost of capital punishment so I'm not sure where you are going with that.

And yes, I am for locking up murderers for life with no chance of parole. I'm sure both of us will agree that these people need to be seperated from society in some way. Where we disagree is how that should be done. I personally don't feel that the state should be in the business of murder, especially when the cost is so high and there is no substantial proof that it acts as a deterrent.

Do you enjoy torturing others, or had you just not thought it through?

Thought what through? You think life in prison is torture but killing someone is humane?

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 07:21 PM
Well the cost of life in prison is still less, and usually significantly less, than the cost of capital punishment so I'm not sure where you are going with that.

And yes, I am for locking up murderers for life with no chance of parole. I'm sure both of us will agree that these people need to be seperated from society in some way. Where we disagree is how that should be done. I personally don't feel that the state should be in the business of murder, especially when the cost is so high and there is no substantial proof that it acts as a deterrent.



Thought what through? You think life in prison is torture but killing someone is humane?
Who mentioned the cost? That isn't noted at all in my statement. And to be honest, the cost is exorbitant because of obstructionists like yourself.

Again, you didn't answer my question, you don't believe locking someone up for life only with other criminals to interact with is inhumane?

DanT
03-03-2005, 07:32 PM
Who mentioned the cost? That isn't noted at all in my statement. And to be honest, the cost is exorbitant because of obstructionists like yourself.

Again, you didn't answer my question, you don't believe locking someone up for life only with other criminals to interact with is inhumane?


Are you asking Wood Draw whether he thinks it is inhumane to lock up someone for life in a manner that forbids that someone from interacting with anyone other than criminals?

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 07:40 PM
Who mentioned the cost? That isn't noted at all in my statement. And to be honest, the cost is exorbitant because of obstructionists like yourself.

You said: "So you are for spending more money on locking up criminals..." Maybe I misinterpreted it.

And by obstructionists, I assume you mean those of us who feel that before a person is killed extra precautions need to be taken in order to be sure that the defendant had a fair trial with adequate defense and conclusive evidence. I'll apologize on behalf of us all for slowing the murder of a person though.

Again, you didn't answer my question, you don't believe locking someone up for life only with other criminals to interact with is inhumane?

No, I don't. When you commit murder that is the price you must pay. What is the alternative? Freedom or death? I'll gladly stick to the middle road on this one.

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 07:48 PM
No, I don't. When you commit murder that is the price you must pay. What is the alternative? Freedom or death? I'll gladly stick to the middle road on this one.

I just don't see the logic. What happens to ANY mammal locked up for any long term and kept away from their normal society? I believe execution not only to be more humane than forcing someone to be locked up for eternity with other people intent on doing that person bodily harm, but also a great deal safer for society.


Middle of the road? Hardly. More like cutting the legs off a toad to keep it from jumping too high.

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 07:58 PM
I just don't see the logic. What happens to ANY mammal locked up for any long term and kept away from their normal society? I believe execution not only to be more humane than forcing someone to be locked up for eternity with other people intent on doing that person bodily harm, but also a great deal safer for society.


Well most of these prisoners seem to disagree with you or the costs for executing them wouldn't be so high. And regardless, murder is murder is murder. I just don't see how anything can be more inhumane than taking the life of a person.

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 08:01 PM
Well most of these prisoners seem to disagree with you or the costs for executing them wouldn't be so high. And regardless, murder is murder is murder. I just don't see how anything can be more inhumane than taking the life of a person.
So locking up your mother for 40 years until she dies away from all her family and friends while continually being raped, stolen from, and beaten is more humane than giving her a sedative and then poisoning her while she sleeps?

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 08:47 PM
So locking up your mother for 40 years until she dies away from all her family and friends while continually being raped, stolen from, and beaten is more humane than giving her a sedative and then poisoning her while she sleeps?

You act like this is an either/or thing. As I said earlier, prison violence is a seperate problem that has to be dealt with. The fact that a problem exists in a seperate area of our justice system doesn't mean we should just execute the whole bunch. Why stop with killers? How about robbers, rapists, and drug dealers? Where do you draw the line?

And I'm not against giving a prisoner certain (for the lack of me being able to think of a better word) benefits based on good behavior, whether that be visits or whatever. A balance has to be struck between the rights of a prisoner and justice. I'm not smart enough to find that balance but I'm fairly certain it doesn't involve killing the prisoner.

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 08:49 PM
You act like this is an either/or thing. As I said earlier, prison violence is a seperate problem that has to be dealt with. The fact that a problem exists in a seperate area of our justice system doesn't mean we should just execute the whole bunch. Why stop with killers? How about robbers, rapists, and drug dealers? Where do you draw the line?

And I'm not against giving a prisoner certain (for the lack of me being able to think of a better word) benefits based on good behavior, whether that be visits or whatever. A balance has to be struck between the rights of a prisoner and justice. I'm not smart enough to find that balance but I'm fairly certain it doesn't involve killing the prisoner.
How can it be a separate thing? Is that how you equivocate your decision? As long as the violence occurs, it is not separate at all. As long as you house violent criminals together for their natural life, the violence will occur.

Again, which is worse, subjecting your mother to the stuff I mentioned below or killing her swiftly and painlessly?

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 09:02 PM
How can it be a separate thing? Is that how you equivocate your decision? As long as the violence occurs, it is not separate at all. As long as you house violent criminals together for their natural life, the violence will occur.

Again, which is worse, subjecting your mother to the stuff I mentioned below or killing her swiftly and painlessly?

It IS a seperate issue. You think killing people is the answer to fixing prison violence? Why even have a prison then? Maybe we could just go the Nazi way and set up a gas chamber for everyone to walk through. That'd solve these problems.

Prison violence, especially sexual assault, is a horrible problem but it certainly isn't one that will be fixed by capital punishment. Unfortunately, there is no effort of rehabilitation for crimes on all levels any more which is leading towards an insane incarceration rate. Prisoners are packed full and there aren't enough guards. So the real question is why this is being ignored by our government?

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 09:35 PM
It IS a seperate issue. You think killing people is the answer to fixing prison violence? Why even have a prison then? Maybe we could just go the Nazi way and set up a gas chamber for everyone to walk through. That'd solve these problems.

Prison violence, especially sexual assault, is a horrible problem but it certainly isn't one that will be fixed by capital punishment. Unfortunately, there is no effort of rehabilitation for crimes on all levels any more which is leading towards an insane incarceration rate. Prisoners are packed full and there aren't enough guards. So the real question is why this is being ignored by our government?
#1. Did I say kill all criminals? Your extremism shows the err of your argument.

#2. I never stated that criminal executions would alleviate crime in prisons - where did you draw that analogy.

They simply are not separate issues at all. They are intertwined. The fact that you act as though one is not related to the other is merely to alleviate your position of lifelong incarceration in torturous communities.


Your argument is akin to allowing a child to play on a busy road. The child is hit by a speeding vehicle and your only argument is "well, they shouldn't be speeding, it is a separate issue." as to why your child was in the road to begin with.

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 10:13 PM
#1. Did I say kill all criminals? Your extremism shows the err of your argument.

Did I ever say you did? I was pointing out the flaw in youy logic. If it is more humane to kill a murderer than to put him in prison for life, would that not apply to everyone else going to jail?

#2. I never stated that criminal executions would alleviate crime in prisons - where did you draw that analogy.

Again, you are saying that there is a prison violence problem (a quick search says there is the disgustingly bad 7% chance of being raped, 20% of being sexually assaulted) therefore it is more humane to kill a person. I'm saying that the problem will be there regardless of how many people you put to death and therefore it makes more sense to fix the problem without killing anyone.

They simply are not separate issues at all. They are intertwined. The fact that you act as though one is not related to the other is merely to alleviate your position of lifelong incarceration in torturous communities.

I really can't believe I'm having this arguement. Simply because there is a violence in problem is not an excuse to kill someone. Would it be wrong for me to assume that you would advocate for someone to abort a baby if they can't support or don't want the child? Would it not be more humane to put the baby out of its suffering early rather than put it through the torturous life of growing up without the love of a family or the basic needs to survive?

KCWolfman
03-03-2005, 10:26 PM
Did I ever say you did? I was pointing out the flaw in youy logic. If it is more humane to kill a murderer than to put him in prison for life, would that not apply to everyone else going to jail?



Again, you are saying that there is a prison violence problem (a quick search says there is the disgustingly bad 7% chance of being raped, 20% of being sexually assaulted) therefore it is more humane to kill a person. I'm saying that the problem will be there regardless of how many people you put to death and therefore it makes more sense to fix the problem without killing anyone.



I really can't believe I'm having this arguement. Simply because there is a violence in problem is not an excuse to kill someone. Would it be wrong for me to assume that you would advocate for someone to abort a baby if they can't support or don't want the child? Would it not be more humane to put the baby out of its suffering early rather than put it through the torturous life of growing up without the love of a family or the basic needs to survive?

No, it wouldn't. As you would have the prospect of leaving for a better life instead of returning to live out eternity there.

As long as the problem exists, your point is moot. As jails and prisons have had assault and sexual attack issues since their inception, I don't see you solving it anytime soon.

A baby doesn't make an active choice to harm another human being.

I see no reason to allow killers to continue to live and give them the chance to kill again. Obviously, you do.

WoodDraw
03-03-2005, 10:50 PM
No, it wouldn't. As you would have the prospect of leaving for a better life instead of returning to live out eternity there.

Just as prisoners have the chance of living the rest of their life in prison (which almost all would chose over dieing) without being sexually assaulted.

As long as the problem exists, your point is moot. As jails and prisons have had assault and sexual attack issues since their inception, I don't see you solving it anytime soon.

That has a lot to do with the fact that nothing is being done to fix the problems. Work to rehabilitate those who can be rehabilitated, decrease what is one of the worlds highest (if not the highest?) incarceration rate, hire more guards, and lower the prisoner-to-space ratio.

A baby doesn't make an active choice to harm another human being.

Well that wasn't your arguement but so be it.

I see no reason to allow killers to continue to live and give them the chance to kill again. Obviously, you do.

This whole debate has moved so far off the original topic that I'm not even sure what we are argueing about any more. No, I don't believe that the state should be killing a person. I believe it is as wrong as any other person killing someone and rather sick. The small chance that a killer may escape and kill again doesn't justify capital punishment in my eyes.

Mr. Kotter
03-03-2005, 11:01 PM
Just as prisoners have the chance of living the rest of their life in prison (which almost all would chose over dieing) without being sexually assaulted.



That has a lot to do with the fact that nothing is being done to fix the problems. Work to rehabilitate those who can be rehabilitated, decrease what is one of the worlds highest (if not the highest?) incarceration rate, hire more guards, and lower the prisoner-to-space ratio.



Well that wasn't your arguement but so be it.



This whole debate has moved so far off the original topic that I'm not even sure what we are argueing about any more. No, I don't believe that the state should be killing a person. I believe it is as wrong as any other person killing someone and rather sick. The small chance that a killer may escape and kill again doesn't justify capital punishment in my eyes.

Kumbya, my Lord; Kumbya!
Kumbya, my Lord; Kumbya!
Kumbya, my Lord; Kumbya!
Oh, Lord; Kumbya!

:)

jettio
03-04-2005, 09:34 PM
shhhhh...

don't give him any ideas...

oops, that was his idea, wasn't it? ROFL ROFL ROFL

ZZZ

jettio
03-04-2005, 09:42 PM
I'm somewhat split on this but I'm leaning pretty heavily towards agreeing with O'Conner's dissent and, to a less extent, Scalia's.

The phrase "cruel and unusual" originally comes from the English Bill of Rights and was interpreted as disallowing punishments "unauthorized by statute and beyond the jurisdiction of the court, as well as those disproportionate to the offense committed". The United States form of this in the Eighth Amendment was directed mainly at disallowing "'tortures' and other 'barbarous' methods of punishment". Today's accepted interpretation of the Eighth Amendment is that a punishment is cruel and unusual if it was considered cruel and unusual at the time the Eighth Amendment was passed or if modern "standards of decency" deem it so.

So the question, of course, is how do you decide what the modern standards of decency are? For the Amendment to be of any relevance in today's society, the courts must move beyond the Common Law definition from the late 1700s and include what is now modernly accepted as "cruel and unusual". In the past, the Supreme Court has accepted two majors sources when deciding whether something violates our "modern standards of decency": legislation and the actions of sentencing juries. The Supreme Court is not limited solely to those two sources but must use them as guidelines in order to avoid ruling based on the opinion of five justices and not on constitutional law.

Twelve states plus Washington D.C. do not have the death penalty in any form, eighteen states allow the death penalty but prohibit it for those under 18 years of age, and the remaining twenty allow the death penalty to be carried out to some extent against those under the age of 18. Of these twenty states, only six have executed a person under the age of 18 in the last sixteen years it has been allowed. Including only the states that authorize the death penalty in some form, 47% do not allow it for those under the age of 18. Including all fifty states (which Scalia argues against doing), the percentage falls to 36%. Over seventy people under the age of 18 are on death row.

The fact that there is at least a moderate level of juveniles on death row supports the idea that sentencing juries still have some level of support for the execution of minors. Whether or not a national consensus exists is more debatable but I'd argue against it. When looking at the states with some form of the death penalty, less than half have laws against execution those under the age of 18. Even when considering the states that do not have the death penalty in any form, there still is not a two-thirds majority. There is no apparent trend that shows the remaining states moving towards disallowing the death penalty for those under 18.

I would personally love for capital punishment to become unconstitutional in all forms but that has to come through an amendment or through an obvious shift in our standards of decency. The decision today skips around this idea and instead seems to be based on the personal opinions of the individual justices with irrelevant or inconclusive evidence offered up as proof.


As a Catholic and a Chiefs fan, I think the most approporiate punishment for the most egregious offenses is a bus ticket to Oakland and a personal seat license at the Coliseum.

craneref
03-05-2005, 09:40 PM
It is too bad the victims of the teenage killers were not afforded the same right of life as the killers. It amazes me how the people who rail against the death penalty are usually the same one that have no problem slaughtering an innocent human being in the womb of a Mother who decided that a human life is an inconvenience to hers. Seems to me that is the reason these teenage killers killed somebody, because there life was an inconvenience to theirs, so I am trying hard to understand how you can differientiate between these two positions. Of course it is easy to ignore the right to "Life" in the "the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness" when it comes to a human being waiting to be born. On a final note, if you want to throw up the woman's right to choose hogwash, you better be for legalized prostitution, because the should be a womans right to use her body however she deems fit, right.

Duck Dog
03-06-2005, 09:26 AM
It is too bad the victims of the teenage killers were not afforded the same right of life as the killers. It amazes me how the people who rail against the death penalty are usually the same one that have no problem slaughtering an innocent human being in the womb of a Mother who decided that a human life is an inconvenience to hers. Seems to me that is the reason these teenage killers killed somebody, because there life was an inconvenience to theirs, so I am trying hard to understand how you can differientiate between these two positions. Of course it is easy to ignore the right to "Life" in the "the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness" when it comes to a human being waiting to be born. On a final note, if you want to throw up the woman's right to choose hogwash, you better be for legalized prostitution, because the should be a womans right to use her body however she deems fit, right.


The left are whacky that way.

The left:
For the murder and killing of innocent babies

The right:
Not for the murder and killing of innocent babies

The left:
Not for the execution of murderers and killers

The right:
For the execution of murderers and killers

bkkcoh
03-15-2005, 06:16 AM
<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=558&u=/ap/20050315/ap_on_go_su_co/scalia_1&printer=1" target="_blank">Link for the story</a>


Scalia Slams Juvenile Death Penalty Ruling


Mon Mar 14, 7:53 PM ET
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down the juvenile death penalty, calling it the latest example of politics on the court that has made judicial nominations an increasingly bitter process. In a 35-minute speech Monday, Scalia said unelected judges have no place deciding issues such as abortion and the death penalty. The court's 5-4 ruling March 1 to outlaw the juvenile death penalty based on "evolving notions of decency" was simply a mask for the personal policy preferences of the five-member majority, he said.
"If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again," Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. "You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility."
"Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?" he said.[/b]
Scalia, who has been mentioned as a possible chief justice nominee should Chief Justice William Rehnquist retire, outlined his judicial philosophy of interpreting the Constitution according to its text, as understood at the time it was adopted.
Citing the example of abortion, he said unelected justices too often choose to read new rights into the Constitution, at the expense of the democratic process.
"Abortion is off the democratic stage. Prohibiting it is unconstitutional, now and forever, coast to coast, until I guess we amend the Constitution," said Scalia, who was appointed to the court by President Reagan in 1986.
He blamed Chief Justice Earl Warren, who presided from 1953-69 over a court that assaulted racial segregation and expanded individual rights against arbitrary government searches, for the increased political role of the Supreme Court, citing Warren's political background. Warren was governor of California and the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1948.
"You have a chief justice who was a governor, a policy-maker, who approached the law with that frame of mind. Once you have a leader with that mentality, it's hard not to follow," Scalia said, in response to a question from the audience.
Scalia said increased politics on the court will create a bitter nomination fight for the next Supreme Court appointee, since judges are now more concerned with promoting their personal policy preferences rather than interpreting the law.
"If we're picking people to draw out of their own conscience and experience a 'new' Constitution, we should not look principally for good lawyers. We should look to people who agree with us," he said, explaining that's why senators increasingly probe nominees for their personal views on positions such as abortion.
"When we are in that mode, you realize we have rendered the Constitution useless," Scalia said.
Scalia, who has had a prickly relationship with the media, wasted no time in shooing away photographers from the public event five minutes into his speech.
"Could we stop the cameras? I thought I announced ... a couple are fine at first, but click click click click," Scalia said, impatiently waving the photographers off.
During a speech last year in Hattiesburg, Miss., a deputy federal marshal demanded that an Associated Press reporter and another journalist erase recordings of the justice's remarks.
The justice later apologized. The government conceded that the U.S. Marshals Service violated federal law in the confrontation and said the reporters and their employers were each entitled to $1,000 in damages and attorneys' fees.


:hmmm:

Mr. Kotter
03-15-2005, 11:03 AM
..."If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again," Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. "You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility." "Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?" he said.

Great quote. The answer: because we don't LIKE what the people think. :harumph:

:deevee:

bkkcoh
03-15-2005, 01:15 PM
..."If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again," Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. "You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility." "Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?" he said.

Great quote. The answer: because we don't LIKE what the people think. :harumph:

:deevee:


Regardess if you like him or not, isn't that refreshing to have a SCJ come out and state that and not wanting to legislate from the bench? :clap: