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Thread: US court bans juvenile executions

  1. #1
    AO Guinness Monster MURACU's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    US court bans juvenile executions

    Due to work commitments i haven't had as much time to post as i would like but seeing this I felt it could do with being posted. I didnt really realise that jueveniles were eligable for execution in the states. I thought that they couldnt even be sent to prision. .
    Anyway what are your feelings on this.

    US court bans juvenile executions

    Capital punishment for juveniles had been allowed in 19 states
    The US Supreme Court has abolished the death penalty for those who commit murder when under the age of 18.
    The court was divided on the issue, but voted 5-4 that the death penalty for criminals aged 16 and 17 should be declared unconstitutional.

    The decision affects not only those convicted in future, but about 70 prisoners already on death row for offences committed before they were 18.

    Anti-capital punishment campaigners claimed the decision as a victory.

    "Now the US can proudly remove its name from the embarrassing list of human rights violators - that includes China, Iran, and Pakistan - that still execute juvenile offenders," said William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

    'No deterrent'

    The highest US court upheld an earlier ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court, which banned the execution of people convicted of crimes they committed before turning 18.

    The Missouri court said putting minors to death was a violation of the US constitution, which outlaws "cruel and unusual" punishment.

    19 states allow execution - only six have carried it out
    227 juveniles sentenced to death since 1976
    22 of them executed - 13 in Texas
    More than 3,400 people on death row in total

    That ruling overturned the death sentence given to Christopher Simmons, who was 17 when he kidnapped a neighbour, tied her up and threw her from a bridge to her death.

    Simmons's attorney, Seth Waxman, said the death penalty did not deter minors, since "they weigh risks differently" to adults.

    There are 19 states where capital punishment for juveniles is allowed.

    But Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted for the ban, noted that even in these states the ultimate sanction was not often carried out.

    He said the trend was to abolish the practice.

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

    Christopher Simmons will not now be executed

    "The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood. It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for death eligibility ought to rest."

    One of the court's dissenting judges, Sandra Day O'Connor, argued that: "Chronological age is not an unfailing measure of psychological development, and common experience suggests that many 17-year-olds are more mature than the average young 'adult'."

    Tuesday's ruling follows several others that have limited the use of capital punishment.

    In 1988, it was ruled that offenders who were younger than 16 when they committed their crimes could not be executed.

    In 2002, the court banned the killing of offenders with mental disabilities.

    Former US President Jimmy Carter and many foreign governments, including those of the European Union, were among those who had called on the US to end the juvenile death penalty.

    Judge Kennedy said: "It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty, resting in large part on the understanding that the instability and emotional imbalance of young people may often be a factor in the crime."
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  2. #2
    ********** |ceWriterguy
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    Aug 2004
    My thoughts on capital crime? I'm a Texan. Nuff said.

    On the other hand - let's look at 'juvenile delinquency' for a moment, shall we? I submit that it is a severe misnomer. There are no juvenile delinquents - there are only delinquent parents. Perhaps we should, instead of banning juvenile executions for capital crimes, hold the juvenile *and* his parents culpable up to and including execution?

    Case in point - this one went through the Texas courts about 10 years ago, and one of our local judges sat the case -

    A 17 year old male broke into an elderly woman's house. He killed her, stole everything of value he could steal, and left her body to rot. 2 weeks later they found her. It was proven a capital crime from his statements (in the presence of his attorney) to the police. This young man was found guilty on both DNA evidence and his confession, and has subsequently been put to death.

    [rant]I severely questioned the parenting ability of this young man's father and mother. Folks, loving a kid isn't enough. It's not enough to say 'now now, don't do that' then ignore your child. It's not enough to ground him after he's been caught fighting in school or in the streets. It's nowhere near enough to put him on juvenile probation or 'boot camp' after his 2nd armed robbery. Let us begin to point fingers at the parents as well as the kid - maybe if we put *their* fat arses through boot camp on the first minor offense, *they* will get the picture and raise their kids to be respectful, responsible citizens. I say make the punishment awarded be bourne by both the parents and the child, and every bit as tough as it would be on just one offender.[/rant]
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  3. #3
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Hi Muracu,

    Capitol punishment is meant to punish teenagers who commit extra-ordinarily heinous crimes. Or I should say "was". In certain circumstances where the little psychos plan, note I said "plan", the destruction of an entire family and then carry it out, or kill their teachers at school etc. The court in the past has had the ability to treat them as an adult in the sense of criminal justice. By infering they acted as "adults". Here is the tally (from Justice Department)

    Name, date of execution, state,race,age of crime, age of execution

    Charles Rumbaugh 9/11/1985 Texas White 17 28
    J.Terry Roach 1/10/1986 S. Carolina White 17 25
    Jay Pinkerton 5/15/1986 Texas White 17 24
    Dalton Prejean 5/18/1990 Louisiana Black 17 30
    Johnny Garrett 2/11/1992 Texas White 17 28
    Curtis Harris 7/1/1993 Texas Black 17 31
    Frederick Lashley 7/28/1993 Missouri Black 17 29
    Ruben Cantu 8/24/1993 Texas Latino 17 26
    Chris Burger 12/7/1993 Georgia White 17 33
    Joseph John Cannon 4/22/1998 Texas White 17 38
    Robert A. Carter 5/18/1998 Texas Black 17 34
    Dwayne A.Wright 10/14/1998 Virginia Black 17 26
    Sean R. Sellars 2/4/1999 Oklahoma White 16 29
    Christopher Thomas 1/10/2000 Virginia White 17 26
    Steve E. Roach 1/19/2000 Virginia White 17 23
    Glen C. McGinnis 1/25/2000 Texas Black 17 27
    Gary L. Graham 6/22/2000 Texas Black 17 36

    But world politics and changning political climates have induced serious discussion on the topic. Is it cruel to execute juveniles? The United Nations even goes so far as to discourage life in prison under the CRC. Since 1976 when the UN took the position that death sentences were a human rights violation to juveniles, they have asked the US repeatedly to retract the practice. Billy signed an agreement of sorts but it was never ratified in the senate. I have a hard time grasping the human rights of a perpetrator versus the rights of the person they killed. They have rights too, and were killed for the most stupid and petty of reasons. Especially if the victims were also children, then the rights of their parents come into factor - regardless if they were 17 or 18 at the time they kill. Lets take a current death row member Derek Guillen; he kidnapped, then raped a woman. After he was finished he killed her. She was in her 50's. A grandmother of some family. The act of a child? **** no. Or Bruce Lee - he car jacked a 24 year old Asian American as she went about her day. He raped and then murdered her. Took her life, played god after he broke her. Kids playing? No way... However, if the age of suffrage is to be the deciding factor - so be it. Even though in my mind these are crimes very adult in nature. Take another listed below, 17 years old - rapes and murders a 14 year old girl and then another who is 16!! Where is the real injustice here and how can it be solved?

    The US takes a lot of punches regarding our human rights violations on the global scale of morality and our application of the death penalty versus the breakdown of certain segments of our society. I can't help but do a little research and wonder where they would draw the line under similar circumstance?

    List from texas of those not yet terminated.


    Alvarado, Steven Brian: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 26 (DOB:8-11-74); robberies and murder of adult Latin male and adult Latin female in El Paso on 9-22-91; sentenced on 10-5-93.

    Arroyo, Randy: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 21 (DOB:10-31-79); kidnaping and murder of Latin male age 39 on 3-11-97 in San Antonio; sentenced on 3-6-98.

    Arthur, Mark Sam: White male; age 17 at crime and now age 21 (DOB: 8-1-79); murder of Latin male age 41 in Harris County on 12-21-96; sentenced on 12-17-97

    Avila, Jr. Rigoberto: Latin male; info not released

    Barraza, Mauro Morris: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 28 (DOB: 5-5-72); murder of white female age 73 in Haltom City (Tarrant County) on 6-14-89; sentenced on 4-8-91.

    Beazley, Napoleon: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 24 (DOB: 8-5-76); robbery and murder of white male age 63 in Dallas (Dallas County) on 4-19-94; sentenced on 3-21-95.

    Bernal, Johnnie: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 24 (DOB: 8-20-76); murder of white (?) male age 19 in Houston on 8-19-94; sentenced on 5-8-95.

    Capetillo, Edward Brian: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 23 (DOB: 5-13-77); murder of white male age 19 and white female age 20 in Harris County on 1-16-95; sentenced on 2-6-96.

    Cobb, Raymond Levi: White male; age 17 age at crime and now age 25 (DOB: 6-18-1976); murder of white female age 23 and infant female in Huntsville (Walker County) on 12-27-93; sentenced on 2-27-97.

    Dewberry, John Curtis: White male; age 17 at crime and now age 23 (DOB: 1-30-77); murder of white male age 57 in Beaumont (Jefferson County) on 12-25-94; sentenced on 11-21-96.

    Dickens, Justin Wiley: White male; age 17 at crime and now age 24 (DOB: 7-28-76); murder in Randall County on 3-12-94; sentenced on 5-17-95.

    Dixon, Anthony Jerome: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 24 (DOB: 11-7-76); robbery and murder of white female age 34 in Houston (Harris County) on 5-15-94; sentenced on 2-8-95.

    Guillen, Derek: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 20 (DOB: 10-20-80); robbery, rape and murder of female age 51 in Tempe on 3-26-98; sentenced on 6-1-99.

    Johnson, Eddie C.: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 22 (DOB: 11-26-78); robbery and murder of white male age 42 in Fort Worth on 3-6-96; sentenced on 7-31-97.

    Jones, Anzel Keon: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 22 (DOB: 2-4-78); murder of black female age 49 in Grayson County on 5-2-95; sentenced on 6-4-96.

    Jones, T.J.: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 24 (DOB: 11-1-76); robbery and murder of elderly male in Gregg County on 2-2-94; sentenced on 12-16-94.

    Little, Leo Gordon: White male; age 17 at crime and now age 20 (DOB: 7-14-80); kidnaping, robbery and murder of Latin male age 22 in San Antonio on 1-22-98; sentenced on 3-5-99.

    Lopez, Michael Anthony, Jr.: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 19 (DOB: 4-28-81); murder of male age 25 (deputy constable) in Harris County on 9-29-98; sentenced on 5-25-99.

    Mitchell, Gerald Lee: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 33 (DOB: 12-27-67); murder of white male adult in Harris County on 6-4-85; sentenced on 4-12-86.

    Monterrubio, Jose Ignacio: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 24 (DOB: 8-6-76); rape and murder of Latin female age 17 in Brownsville (Cameron County) on 9-5-93; sentenced on 8-25-94.

    Patterson, Toronto: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 23 (DOB: 10-17-77); murder of black female age 3 (along with female age 6 and female age 25) in Dallas on 6-6-95; sentenced on 11-21-95.

    Perez, Efrian: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 25 (DOB:11-19-75); rape and murder of white female age 14 and Latin female age 16 in Houston (Harris County) on 6-24-93; sentenced on 9-22-94.

    Soriano, Oswaldo Regaldo: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 25 (DOB: 6-26-75); robbery and murder of adult male in Amarillo on 11-17-92; sentenced on 5-4-94.

    Springsteen, IV Robert: White male;

    Tran, Son: Asian-American male; age 17 at crime and now age 20; murder of Latin male adult and Asian-American male age 20 in Houston on 10-25-97; sentenced on 12-18-00.

    Villareal, Raul Omar: Latin male; age 17 at crime and now age 25 (DOB: 9-25-75); rape and murder of white female age 14 and Latin female age 16 in Houston (Harris County) on 6-24-93; sentenced on 9-22-94.

    Williams, Bruce Lee: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 19 (DOB: 12-16-81); car-jacking, rape and murder of Asian-American female age 24 in Dallas on 2-3-99; sentenced on 12-10-99.

    Williams, Nanon McKewn: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 26 (DOB: 8-2-74); murder of white male age 19 in Harris County on 5-4-92; sentenced on 9-22-95.

    Wilson, Geno Capoletti: Black male; age 17 at crime and now age 19 (DOB: 5-24-81); robbery and murder of male age 19 in Houston on 12-2-98; sentenced on 12-10-99
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  4. #4
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    Ma'm yes-ma'm ma'm. Sir yes-sir sir. Those kids come out of those boot camps a total 180. I think it's a waste of human life and money to execute offenders that were minors ( though I don't think any have been executed before 18). I think they should be forced into some type of special military program where they can be productive, learn skills and perhaps protect assets and territories of the US.
    BTW A juvenile murdered my great grandmother and is/was sitting on DR.

    China Iran etc.... are shooting kids under 18. To my knowledge nobody here has been executed under 18 but I might be wrong.

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  5. #5
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
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    A child learns what they see/live everyday. You show me the homelife statistics of these kids, and I bet in the process, you'll see children who have been abused, who have lived in homes without proper adult supervision, without the love they need to grow up well-adjusted. Homes where crime is a way of life. Homes where parents are in prison. I'm not excusing the action, nor am I saying that all childhood crimes are committed by kids with bad parents. However, I'm certain that the number who did commit crimes and issue from a bad home are much higher than the ones who come from stable homes.

    Saying that a child (and despite Ms. O'Connor's statement, scientifically speaking, children at the age of 17 are still growing and learning and maturing) is completely responsible for an action even an adult can't understand is absurd. Where is the parental responsibility? In some states, parents can be taken to jail for their child's truancy. It seems to me that if we're going to jail parents when their child skips school, at the very least they should be eligible for jail if their child commits rape and murder.
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  6. #6
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    I think it's bullshit.

    Juvenile *Offenders* That means I can, at 16, go out a slaughter a whole family, not get caught until I'm 30, and fight it for 6 to 20 years, and then, when all appeals are lost...no death penalty, cuz I *WAS* a minor? In this case I could be facing execution 30 to 40 years later...but I couldn't be executed due to being a JUVENILE OFFENDER? It's bollocks. Complete crap. A waste of our courts time, and a goddamned shame they pay attention to things like this. What is this really going to change?

    The point is EXECUTING MINORS. I don't think any of us agree with that sort of thing. We know the US judicial system takes YEARS to go from conviction to execution in capital crimes cases, so what's the big deal? Do you REALLY expect a jury (or panel of judges, depending on the state) to sentence a 10 year old to Death? Of course not. How about a 17 year old? It does happen...but by the time all the appeals have gone through, the convict is a decade older or more.

    And I hate that 'No deterrent' crap. It sure as hell is a deterrent...at the very least, for the person who was executed. They will never kill again.
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    That is true zencoder. They have NEVER been executed while still a minor juvenile. The notion is definitely misleading. However they are found guilty and sentenced in a lot of cases, as a minor juvenile.

    Saying that a child ... is completely responsible for an action even an adult can't understand is absurd.

    //EDIT I retract this statement
    However they are found guilty and sentenced in a lot of cases, as a minor juvenile.
    I found no evidence to support that, in fact I believe in most cases they were over the age of 18 when sentencesd. But they did commit the crime when under 18 and in our society that should have relevence in all matters of justice. BUT we have never executed a minor in modern history. Good observation, it IS bullshit in a way.
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  8. #8
    ********** |ceWriterguy
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    Holy cow, Deb and I agree - again. My conservatism must be slipping -

    Frag the kid. Frag his parents too. Hell, while we're at it, let's frag the majority of the Supreme Court who voted such an absurd verdict.

    Rusty - I hate to tell you, but bootcamp doesn't work all the time. My youngest step-son went through it *twice*. Now he sits in the pen for getting caught walking across a meadow with someone else's 52 inch plasma teevee in his hands, then not paying his probation officer on time. Do I feel guilty for the kid's outcome? Not really, I didn't get a hand on him until he was 16 and dropped out of high school. In the 2 years of hell he brought to our household I tried my best to teach both he and his mother - I succeeded with mom, but failed miserably with him. He got tossed out on his butt at age 18 for a cocaine habit, arrested for burglary 6 months later, then jailed 6 months after that.

    As for your great grandmother and the one who killed here - I'm sorry to hear that. I'm sure it was a great loss to your family, however I don't think a session of boot-camp would be enough to punish the murderer for his act now would it?
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  9. #9
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    You guys might want to check this out...


    it's got a lot of facts and figures.


  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Ok - so I already posted my News of the Weird for the day, however - I also found this could be pertinent to the discussion - if nothing else - the extremes some parents are thinking and will go to for control - or at least their own illusion of such. Also not trying to pull religion into the discussion, I just found the article interesting:

    In January, the Consumer Product Safety Commission turned down a petition from corporal punishment opponent Susan Lawrence to ban "The Rod," a 22-inch-long nylon stick marketed by an Oklahoma couple as an aid to Bible-based child-rearing ("spare the rod, spoil the child"). Vying for the same market are the 9-inch-long, polyurethane spanking paddles of a Bakersfield, Calif., man and wooden spanking paddles of a New Kingston, Pa., man, both sold with an explicit Christian message. (Lawrence, who said she is a devout Lutheran, said corporal punishment of children is inconsistent with Jesus' teachings.) [San Francisco Chronicle, 2-6-05; Boston Globe, 1-10-05]
    Source: News of the Weird

    As far as the main issue - capital punishment for juvenilles? It all starts back at home, like many stated here - the parents or established guardians that have had the resposibility and privilege of the child rearing years for their children, should have to be subject to trial and possible punishment for what their offspring commit; it would have to depend on the circumstances and if the parents/guardians have been with the child(ren) - the kid's whole life or just a couple of years. I would hate to have to waste a life - I would rather try and reform the kid(s), but I would also hate for convicted scum to be yet another drain on society - it would have to handled case-by-case and the question asked - how much is enough?

    Then again - our state does not have the death penalty statute (after checking Egaledeist's link) so I will shut my trap now.
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