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Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper

In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court Court ruled that persons less than 16 when they committed the crime may not be sentenced to death.

Currently, 14 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington) as well as the federal government bar the execution of those who were younger than 18 when they killed.

At present, 51 death row inmates, all male, were less than 18 when they committed the crime. Three fourth of them were 17, a quarter were 16 years old. Texas’ death row holds 20 of the 51, nine are in Alabama. Since 1976, nine men have been executed for crimes committed at age 17; none since 1993. In 1997, at least 6 juveniles aged 16 or 17 when they killed were condemned to death. In February 1999, Oklahoma executed Sean Sellers for a horrendus crime he committed when he was 16. In 1992, a defense-sponsored psychiatric evaluation concluded Sellers had multiple personality disorder. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based on a technicality (the issue had not been raised in the lower courts) said it could not grant relief. Thus Sean Sellers was executed because of a horrible mistake he made as a child. More details on juveniles condemned to death *http://www.essential.org/dpic/dpic6.html* are available.

Several national organizations are in the forefront of active opposition to the practice of capital punishment imposed on those who were juveniles *http://www.ncadp.org/skkmenu.html* when they committed murder.

Information on the executions worldwide since 1985 of juvenile offenders is summarized in a report by Amnesty International USA.

1. Amnesty International report on Juvenile Executions *http://www.igc.org/amnesty/abolish/juve.html*

found on www.deathpenalty.net

The imposition of the death penalty is racially biased.

Nearly 90% of persons executed were convicted of killing whites, although people of color make up over half of all homicide victims in the United States


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