Cruel and Unusual Punishment Essay

Submitted By tay23gallo
Words: 925
Pages: 4

“Cruel and unusual” punishment, like most legal topic, is a loosely interpreted idea that has circulated from households, to schools, to prisons all around the country. Ultimately the supreme court has the absolute final say in what definition is deemed applicable for the situation at hand, being that, it is made up of the most respected judges and jurors available. To this day it is argued whether or not in juvenile court, it is violating the Constitution to have the accused receive the death sentence and/or capitol punishment of any degree. Roper Vs. Simmons is an eccentric engagement in regards to the fact that the supreme court took in verdicts and opinions from previous cases and public opinion pertaining to said case. Certain justices believed that juveniles and the mentally ill were not disregarded from the death sentence. Being brought upon the death penalty as an adult is a profound argumentative topic in general, but even more controversial once brought upon to a minor or the mentally ill. On September 9th, 1993, at the age of 17, Christopher Simmon deliberately murdered Shirely Crook. Simmon broke into Crook’s home, tied her up, drove her towards a State park and then threw her off the bridge. By the afternoon on September 9th, fisherman discovered the victims body meanwhile Simmons was gloating about the crime he committed. After gathering information of Simmon’s involvement with the murder, the next day he was arrested at his high school. Once brought down to the station in Fenton, Missouri, he confessed to the murder of Crook and agreed on reenacting the crime at the scene while being videotaped. The State of Missouri charged Simmons with the kidnapping, burglary, and murder of Shirely Crook of the first degree. Considering Simon’s age, 17, he was tried as an adult. Due to the reenactment and Simmon’s confessions, no witnesses were called for he was found guilty unanimously. Simmon was given the death penalty, until he obtained new counsel. (Too Young To Kill?) Experts were brought into court to testify Simmon’s abuse as a child which believed to have effect on his development, drug abuse, schoolwork, and cause him to be mentally ill. After these allegations of Simmon’s being mentally ill and having no criminal record behind him, the court held that the 14th and 8th amendments stated that it is further more prohibited to send a mentally retarded person to death even in the Atkins case. (International Justice Project) The basics of Atkins was that mental retardation diffuses the choosing capability within the person. And with no choosing capability, there is no responsibility upfront finding that the respondent is less guilty for their actions. Finding also, that many Americans were now against the execution of minors and mentally ill, the courts ruled that it was unconstitutional. (OYEZ) Simmon’s death sentence was now put aside and he was given life in prison without eligibility for parole. Many Americans were satisfied with this choice because of the fact that their beliefs were being heard. This case caused the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the decency standards have changed so much that any juvenile offender younger than 18 is entirely prohibited to receive the death penalty in March 2005. I believe that this should not be the case, if a minor should be thinking that well into an organized crime, inflicting serve harm or death on others, they should be able to face the