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NCJ Number: 134526 Find in a Library
Title: United States of America: The Death Penalty and Juvenile Offenders
Corporate Author: Amnesty International USA
United States of America
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 83
Sponsoring Agency: Amnesty International USA
New York, NY 10001
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report summarizes Amnesty International's findings regarding the cases of 23 juveniles (18 years old and under when they committed their offenses) sentenced to death under current U.S. statutes, including 14 still on death row as of July 1, 1991.
Abstract: Twenty-four of the 36 States with the death penalty have laws that allow the imposition of death sentences on juveniles. In June 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the execution of offenders as young as 16 is permissible under the U.S. Constitution. There are more juvenile offenders on death row in the United States than in any other country known to Amnesty International. The imposition of death sentences on juvenile offenders is in clear contravention of international human rights standards contained in numerous international instruments. Amnesty International does not argue that juveniles should not be held criminally liable or subjected to severe penalties where appropriate; however, international standards recognize that the death penalty is inappropriate for persons who have not attained full physical or emotional maturity at the time of their offenses. In the 23 cases examined in detail by Amnesty International, the large majority of the juveniles came from acutely deprived backgrounds. U.S. capital punishment laws contain safeguards designed to ensure that the death penalty is applied fairly and imposed only for the worst crimes and most culpable offenders. The evidence in the cases examined, however, indicates that these safeguards have not been met in practice. Appended relevant international standards and 41 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile capital punishment
Index Term(s): Abolishment of capital punishment; Juvenile court statistics
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