Criminal Law Bulletin
Roper v. Simmons, LWOP, death sentence, juvenile offenders
The United States juvenile death penalty was abolished in 2005 when the Supreme Court, in Roper v. Simmons, found this punishment to be cruel and unusual and in violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.1 This decision was the final step in ending the death sentence for those under the age of eighteen. While this sentence is no longer an option for retributively-inclined states, many serious youthful offenders continue to meet similar, and in some ways, comparably difficult fates. These fates include the wholesale transfer of serious youthful offenders to the criminal courts2 and the subsequent incarceration of tens of thousands of troubled adolescents;3 andfor a smaller subset of this group, their imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole (LWOP).
Mallett, Christopher A., "From Death to Near-Death: The Fate of Serious Youthful Offenders after Roper v. Simmons" (2014). Social Work Faculty Publications. Paper 22.
(c) West Group 2014.