posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 12:57 AM
The Supreme Court suspended the use of the Death Penalty from 1968 until 1976. Executions resumed in 1977.
In Furman vs Georgia, 1972 the Supreme Court ruled the Death Penalty, as administered, constitued cruel and unusual punishment. The decision
invalidated the death penalty laws of 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Although the majority of justices objected to the way the death penalty was applied, they couldn't agree on the reasons it was unconstitutional.
In 1976, new laws were brought before the Supreme Court in Gregg vs Georgia. The court upheld the laws that required the sentencing judges/jury to
take into account the specific aggravating and mitagating factors in deciding which convicted murderers should be sentenced to death.
As a result of this case, states created a "bifurcated proceeding". This is a two part process which allows a trial to determine guilt or innocence
with a separate trial for the penalty phase with the focus on the punishment.
**Now back to your post:
13 states do not specify a minimum age for capital punishment.
In the case of Thompson vs Oaklahoma (1988) the court determined a person, aged 15 years old, at the time of the crime, not be executed.
In the cases of Sanford vs Kentucky (1989) and Wilkins vs Missouri (1989),
the court upheld decisions to execute those 16 and 17 years of age at the time of their crimes.
This set the precident to execute those, the minimum of 16 years of age.
There are currently 41 males on death row who were under the age of 18 years when their crimes were committed. 3,000 adults awaiting execution in 35
or the 39 states. 2/3 of them are in the Southern states: Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
On comparing crime of the US vs other countries, James Lynch did a study:
On comparing crime rates in the US vs Australia, Canada, England and Wales, West Germany, France, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland (Lynch
1995:11). Both police and victim data showed the homicide rate in the United States as being more than twice than that of Canada.
The same was generally true for robbery, more than twice the amount.
The same victim survey showed that for other violent crimes, assualt and robbery, rates of victimization was lower for Americans than for Canadians,
Australians and Spainards (Donzger, 1996:10).
Data for burglary and motor vehicle theft show a 40% higher rate in Australia, 12% higher rate in Canada, 30% higher rate in England and Wales than
the United States.
The risk of lethal violence is much higher in the United States than in other industrial democracies. However, the risk of minor violence is not
greater than in other common law countries. In contrast, the United States has lower serious property crime than many countries.
The UCR (Uniform Crime Reports) are incomplete as these reports cover only 29 types of offenses which are reported to the police and the police
respond to. If they havent been reported, or the police report isn't completed, it doesn't get on this list. 16,000 agencies at local, state and
federal levels participate in tabulating these stats.