BEST OF 2002-2003
Only the right antidote can protect your life
God's love is alphabetically revealed in random languages
Juveniles escape of death penalty could influence abortion decisions.
Ramesh C. Reddy
The Supreme Ct of the United States, in a 5-4 decision of Roper v.s Simmons has done justice for the 72 juveniles still on death row by banning executions of juveniles who commit murder.
Juveniles are anyone under the age of 18 who were allowed to be under death row in 19 states for murderous crimes against humanity. The first of March 2005 has finally put an end to it, thanks to the Court.
Banning the death penalty against juveniles in no way lessens the crime they have committed of taking another personís life. A life was taken and that life cannot be brought back in this life.
However, the issue at hand should not just be the crime but the person who commits the crime.
When a child plays with a gun and accidentally shoots to death a friend, the courts do not see this in the same light as an adult who plays with a gun and accidentally shoots to death a friend.
The child would be excused with the rationalization that he/she did not know what they were doing. If anything the parent/guardian could be charged for being negligent and placing a loaded gun where a child could get access to it.
However, it would be hard for courts to excuse an adult who accidentally shoots a friend to death playing around with a gun.
In both cases, there was no intent but in the second case an adult should have known better while playing with a loaded gun. The charge could be negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter.
When it comes to the death penalty, it would be totally wrong to treat someone under 18 who are still considered a child in the eyes of the court with someone over 18 who are considered an adult.
Children no matter what crime they commit do not have the same mindset as adults. There is a reason why courts expect parents or guardians to take care of the needs of children until they are at least 18 unless the courts declare a child to be an emancipated minor.
In this light, it would be unconstitutional and violate the eighth amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment which the death penalty would be if imposed upon a child.
People in favor of the death penalty for juveniles can argue all they want about consequences for the actions we do, and junior high and high school students know right and wrong.
It is true that children many times know the difference between right and wrong but knowing something and acting upon that knowledge is different. High school students are still in the custody of their parents and cannot sign for things without their parent/guardians permission.
When there are so many restrictions against those that are under 18 including many laws including the law of statutory rape that makes it a crime for someone over 18 to even have voluntary sexual intercourse with someone under 18, why should it not be a crime against the state to execute someone who is under 18.
Those under 18 are children and children can be subjected to all kinds of negative influences and peer pressures that make them give in many times. This however does not excuse completely what they do. They need the love and protection of good role models and help to rehabilitate for the crimes against humanity.
Children who can be influenced negatively can also be influenced positively and be rehabilitated for the crimes they have done. When a parent/guardian has to sign everything for someone under 18 years of age, the state has no right to sign a death warrant.
In all this the victims are not forgotten because those who commit the crimes will be punished and kept from society until they are rehabilitated. Going for the death penalty against children becomes more an act of vengeance than anything.
Those who want the death penalty for children should ask themselves what if they were the judge and their son/daughter went on a killing spree, would you sentence him/her to death?
If the answer is yes, then your duty to the law is more than your ability to distinguish between children and adults.
If your answer is no, it would be because you think he/she did not know what they were doing and even if they knew what they were getting themselves into, their mind was not at the capacity of one who turns 18.
It can also be argued that someone who has turned 18 but does not have the mental age of 18 but less is not really an adult and the death penalty should not be applied.
It still aches me because of having to agree with five liberal justices who abolish the death penalty for juveniles and yet some of those same justices do not think children need parental notification for abortion.
This decision should allow pro-life activists to use as ammunition to stop children from getting abortions because they are not of the mindset to understand what they are doing.