Roper Simmons Case

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Facts: In the year 1993 the defendant Roper Simmons along with two other friends planned on killing Shirley Crook. Roper Simmons planned on breaking into Shirley Crook’s home, kidnapping her, and throwing her of a bridge. The night of the murder one of the three friends by the name of Tessmer backed out of the plan and decided to leave. Roper Simmons and his other friend Benjamin carried on with the plan of killing Shirley Crooks. Shirley Crook was kidnapped from her home and taken to a state park where she was thrown of a bridge into the Meramec River. During the time that Simmons committed the murder he was only 17 years old. However, nine months later when Simmons was tried he had turned 18 years old and was given the death penalty. Roper …show more content…
The 8th amendment protects offenders against “cruel and unusual punishment” and the court decided that executing juvenile offenders falls under “cruel and unusual punishment”. In order to come to the decision that it did the court used several different cases as precedent. The first case that was reviewed was Thompson v. Oklahoma (1988). Thompson was originally being charged with murder and was given the death penalty at the age of 15. After appealing to the U.S Supreme Court Thompson was granted certiorari. The rulings of the Supreme Court were that executing a juvenile under the age of 16 was a violation of the 8th and 14th amendment. Therefore, his cases was reversed and sent back to a lower court for resentencing. In Thompson’s case the plurality opinion stated that executing a person under the age of 16 would offend the current civilized standards of decency. The plurality also pointed out the fact that juveniles should not be held to adult standards just like they are not held to adult privileges and responsibilities. Another case that was reviewed was Stanford v. Kentucky (1989). In Stanford v. Kentucky, Kevin Stanford was charged with first degree murder, sodomy, robbery, and having stolen property. Stanford appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court arguing that the death sentence penalty on a person of his age violated constitutional rights. The Supreme Court held that executing juveniles under the age of 18 was not a violation of constitutional rights. The Supreme Court came to this conclusion by reviewing the number of states that allowed executions for 16 and 17 year old. Based on the numbers the court stated that there was no unified national consensus in regards to the death penalty sentence on 16 and 17 year olds. However, in 2005 the