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NEWS: US Supreme Court Ends Execution of Juvenile Murderers

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posted on Mar, 2 2005 @ 06:41 PM
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Once again “activist judges” are legislating from the bench!

The first recorded state execution of a condemned juvenile in America was in 1642, when Thomas Graunger was hung at the age of 15 in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts for the offense of having acquainted himself with the carnal knowledge of a cow.


“In the 1600s, the law established the age of seven as the point after which a child could be held criminally responsible for his or her actions. Before that time, colonial America's favored punishment for juvenile offenders was to have parents "beat the devil" out of their child if he or she committed a crime. Parents could be required to publicly EXECUTE, whip, or even banish their children if society found them to be criminally liable.”

www.law.duke.edu...(Summer+2000)

It is upon reading such histories of my country that I am compelled to get on my knees and pray God have mercy on any that would find themselves to live in a land where the magistrates would render such a cruel sentence. For if God did not grant them mercy they would surely find none on earth and thereby be bereft of all mercy.
Surely magistrates that would sentence a child to death did not subscribe to a religion whose central deity said,

Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Mt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Mt 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Mt 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Surely such magistrates would be worshipers of Baal instead.

God has heard the cry and this very fine day granted a 400 year old prayer for mercy and we no longer live in a country that sentences minors to death!

apnews.myway.com...

Halleluiah!


The U.S. had been in very good company in maintaining a death penalty for minors just as China, Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. So at last we have made it to the 20th century and need only to repeal the rest of the death penalty to join the civilized world.

Of course there were 4 judges who thought sentencing minors to death was not cruel. Perhaps they maintained that a child could be possessed of an old soul.

In any case while I agree with the court’s decision I find their logic tortured:

It is cruel to execute a 25 year old man who committed murder when he was 17, but not cruel to execute a 25 year old man who murdered when he was 18.

Though I understand the need to draw the line of responsibility somewhere I think it more consistent to maintain that it is cruel to execute. Especially since our justice system has demonstrated an inability to determine guilt or innocence much less absolutely.

From the link above.

“The number of actual executions of juvenile offenders increased sharply during the 1990s. Ten of the thirteen post-Furman executions of juvenile offenders occurred during the 90’s. One juvenile offender was executed in 1990, another in 1992, four in the last six months of 1993, three in 1998, and one in 1999. The last juvenile offender to be executed was Sean Sellers, who was age sixteen at the time of his offense.”

Malvo skates the lucky dog!




posted on Mar, 2 2005 @ 06:45 PM
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I probably actually oppose the execution of minors; however, I think this is none of the Supreme Court's business and any changes to laws should be done by state legislatures and the United States Congress. I especially despise the citing of foreign opinion and precedent as reason to overturn the will of the U.S. people expressed through their legislatures.



posted on Mar, 2 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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Angry at the decision, Justice Atonin Scalia read part of his dissent from the bench, "The basic premise- that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world- ought to be rejected out of hand."

Justice Athony Kennedy, who voted in favor of juvenile execution in 1989, was the key vote in banning this practice this time around.

Their reason: National con-census has shown that this is wrong!

Can you believe that?

They support the rights of trampy women to kill there unborn children, but when "children" commit cold-blooded murder, it's OK to let them live.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 12:45 AM
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Originally posted by DrHoracid
The court does not have this power anyway. They have been ruleing unlawfully since 1803.


I see I am not the only one to have read the third article of the U.S. Constitution.


Originally posted by XX_SicSemperTyrannis_XX
Public opinion and international opinion should not be considered when deciding a case involving constitutional matters, but the Constitution. Equally absurd are Justices that cite court cases from other countries intheir decisions,


I agree that foreign countries decisions are not to be a supporting basis on a constitutional question.

But what is most upsetting to me is, the U.S. supreme court has taken yet another decision from the states, and the jury. Is the death penalty next? (again?)

The states should decide:

a) have the death penalty or not?

b) what standards or limitations should we require (if any) before a jury can decide if a man should be put to death?

To pull this decision, literally out of their robe and cite everything but a truely supporting constitutional basis is absurd.

Punishment should always be relevent to the crime, if a man shoplifts a loaf of bread he should not be sentenced to 1 year in jail.

Similarly, if a man kills another in hate, he should not be fined $100.

Punishment should fit the crime, the U.S. supreme court has taken away what may be a proper punishment for a murderer.

Justice cannot be served for those who may have lost loved ones because the murderer was under eighteen.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 01:24 AM
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I ask you is death a punishment?

Is there any here that can say with a certainty what awaits us ?

Death is not a punishment.
Death is a sentence and to pass a sentence of death on a child is held by the court to be cruel and therefore unconstitutional. I submit that any sentence of death is cruel and unconstitutional.

States may not pass unconstitutional laws no matter if every citizen of that state be in agreement. Some call it the civil war but that is an oxymoron as no war is civil, some refer to it as the war between the states but for the purpose of polite discourse I refer to it as the recent unpleasantness. The outcome of this unpleasantness establishes the federal governments primacy over the States. The federal government now says that it is unconstitutional to pass a sentence of death on a minor in any state of this union because the constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment.

What some bemoan as cowtowing to foreign interests I view as the aquisition of an upright posture from one that put much wear and tear on the knuckles.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 01:55 AM
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Originally posted by Alexodin

...to pass a sentence of death on a child is held by the court to be cruel and therefore unconstitutional. I submit that any sentence of death is cruel and unconstitutional.


I know what the supreme court said.

Why do you think the death sentence is unconstitutional?



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 02:07 AM
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Because the constitution prohibts cruelty.

"Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached."
--Supreme Court Justice Tony Scalia

What manner of man would knowingly put an innocent man to death because it is convenient to the state?

Such a man would be completely devoid of ethics and to commit such an act would be tyranny in the raw. Yet such a man sits as a justice in the highest court of our land and interprets our most fundamental laws.

It kind of makes you grateful to live in a land so free, though as a taxpayer I would be happy to spend what little extra it may cost my state in time and effort to not knowingly execute the innocent for the sake of expediency. Expediency in the service of tyranny is not a virtue but a vice. If expediency be the goal then why not dispense with the trail altogether and move straight to the execution? Sure would save a lot of time.

Perhaps he meant that the state having gone through the long process of trial and conviction and sentencing only to discover that they had convicted an innocent man could not legally be compelled to show mercy. This may lend strong credence to those that say our government in no way has our interests at heart and would kill us if they could only do so legally.

Such restraint in not exercising their might over the citizenry out of regard for the rule of law is to be applauded.


[edit on 3-3-2005 by Alexodin]



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by Alexodin
Because the constitution prohibts cruelty.


Continuing the debate on the supreme court decision, not Scalia and his poor judgement; you say the death penalty is cruel. Is it not cruel to the victims to leave their murderer live? If a persons right to live was stolen by a murderer, should not the murderer be punished justly for the crime? If a 17 year old kills 5 people, why should he be treated so drastically different at 17 versus committing the crime at 18?

Is there a immediate understanding of right and wrong at their 18th birthday, that they lacked at their 16th, or 17th?

I believe, Matt Prince says it best with "...If we are to hold people accountable for their actions, then the price one must pay for depriving a person of their right to life through the act of murder is the forfeiture of their own life."
-- Matt Prince, Germantown, Maryland



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 10:31 PM
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While cruelty may be the result of omission or commission as in striking a blow or neglecting to deliver proper care to an animal or a child our constitution forbids the state to commit overt cruelty. Victims of a capital offense may expect justice but not revenge.

Yes the murderer should be punished justly.

“If a 17 year old kills 5 people, why should he be treated so drastically different at 17 versus committing the crime at 18?”

To my mind there should be no such distinction. If it is cruel to execute a juvenile offender it is also cruel to execute an adult. I find the court’s logic tortured as well.

“Is there a immediate understanding of right and wrong at their 18th birthday, that they lacked at their 16th, or 17th?”

As far as the law is concerned yes but in reality no. We must draw a line where adult responsibility begins for purely practical reasons. Should we test every child and hold each to a different standard based on evaluated maturity?
While I believe such a practice could result in a better and more just world it is simply not practical. Where the line of responsibility currently lies is undetermined because at 18 you may vote, fight and die for your country, be held criminally liable for law breaking, sign contracts, but not drink alcohol. At sixteen you may enjoy driving and be held criminally responsible for your actions but enjoy very little by way of privileges. The standard is literally all over the map. I like the idea of ratcheting up rights with responsibilities and see no need to deliver all at once but the idea that a marine can return from fighting overseas and be jailed for a beer at a ball game is flat out wrong.

To my mind regardless of a person’s age the state would be cruel in executing them.

Mr. Prince submits that holding people accountable for a capital offense can only be achieved by putting them to death. I simply do not agree and find such a statement to be unethical as it calls for the state to commit the same act which is held to be so repugnant. If the Libertarian party does not take a stand on this issue and related ones (any stand) they will continue to be a second or third choice on the ballot but not a first. Blood does not require blood unless we are to be reduced to the most primitive law of Hammurabi which required an eye for an eye and thereby blinded both. The code of Hammurabi is not the standard by which we live but is embraced in Muslim nations with enthusiasm. Besides it was stolen from a museum in Baghdad during the invasion.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 11:17 PM
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Originally posted by Alexodin

“Is there a immediate understanding of right and wrong at their 18th birthday, that they lacked at their 16th, or 17th?”

As far as the law is concerned yes but in reality no. We must draw a line where adult responsibility begins for purely practical reasons. Should we test every child and hold each to a different standard based on evaluated maturity?

While I believe such a practice could result in a better and more just world it is simply not practical.


I also agree that such a practice of examining each case on an individual basis, would result in a better and more just system. I, however, feel it is practical.

If a jury can evaluate the facts of the case, as well as the law, they certainly have the capacity to determine the understanding (or lack of) by the defendant of their alleged crime.

I personally feel that the penalty (death or not) should be determined after the jury has reached a decision of the defendants guilt. Furthermore, there should be a absolute consensus, among all jurors, in agreement on the punishment of death as well.

This I feel would safeguard those who may actually be innocent from death, and allow the courts main role, to administer justice, be fulfilled.



posted on Mar, 4 2005 @ 03:19 AM
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I have far less faith in our system of justice. It is not the case now that we can determine guilt or innocence to the standard that a death penalty requires as has been shown in numerous occasions where DNA evidence presented post conviction has unequivocally proven innocence. I can site cases if you like but they are numerous enough to cause any honest man great pause.

Every citizens right to a fair trail in this country has also been abrogated through many varied means for the sake of brevity I will describe only one here now:

A public defender will always be outgunned by a more experienced prosecuter because PD's get promoted to prosecutor. The PD will always be junior to his protagonist and often by many years. To make matters worse a prosecutor can and often does ascend to magistrate. This is gross inequity.

We have a two tiered justice system that in many cases is outright busted both morally and ethically. Equal protection is a right we are due and do not have but to compound that with a death penalty is in no citizen's interest.

Currently the states are belly aching over whether they should even allow the condemend to present DNA evidence post conviction. Which of course any reasonable entity having the opportunity to absolutely know one way or the other would hail DNA as a God send. But no some States consider it an imposition to have to make such considerations as they already have the condemned in their clutches.



posted on Mar, 4 2005 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by XX_SicSemperTyrannis_XX
All the Founding Fathers supported this?

I would not think that my original statement would be taken by anyone who knows the facts to think that every founder was pro-slavery.

Granted not all the Founding Fathers were against slavery. However, not all of them "were men who whipped slaves in forced labour camps."

Indeed.

intelearthling
They support the rights of trampy women to kill there unborn children,

You sir are a pig, and apparently also an idiot.

but when "children" commit cold-blooded murder, it's OK to let them live.

What in particular in your mentality has prevented you from understanding the basic arguement? Cruel and Unusual punishment is unconstitutional. The SCOTUS decides on what laws are constitutional or not. Execution of minors is cruel and unusual therefore its unconstitutional.



posted on Mar, 4 2005 @ 11:13 AM
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Important to note is that judicial review is not established in the Constitution, but the Court granted it to itself in Marbury v. Madison. Just an interesting fact....



posted on Mar, 4 2005 @ 11:28 AM
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Congress easily could've made it explicitly anti-constitutional if it beleived the SCOTUS was wrong in their assement. Its not as if there hasn't been enough time since then!



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