Missouri Supreme Court Bans Execution of Juvenile Offenders

State ex rel. Simmons v. Roper, 112 S.W.3d 397 (Mo. 2003); 72(9) U.S. Law Week 1143-44 (Sept. 16, 2003)

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the execution of defendants who were juveniles when they committed their offense is barred by the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.  Applying the analysis used by the U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia (2002), the court concluded that evolving standards of decency have similarly led to a national consensus opposing juvenile executions.  The court asserted that if the U.S. Supreme Court were to review its decision from 14 years ago in Stanford v. Kentucky (1989), it would rule that "evolving standards of decency" mandate that the execution of 16- and 17-year-old offenders be found unconstitutional...

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1