Capital Punishment: Foundational Cases Pt. 2

After writing your response to Pt. 1 (Capital Punishment: Foundational Cases) read the sample response below. Then write a response to the sample response quoted below. What are your thoughts/views? How sufficient and/or detailed was the answer? Anything you agree or disagree with?

“After reading the facts of the case as well as the concurring and dissenting opinions, I feel obligated to agree with the Stanford decision. My reasoning comes from the dissenting opinion. In the dissenting opinion, it is stated that the rare use of the death penalty for juveniles was enough to call it unusual, which therefore violated the cruel and unusual part of the 8th Amendment (Hatch & Walsh, 2016). This stood out to me because it showed that the death penalty was very rarely used in the case of 16/17 year olds, which implies that it is only used in extremely heinous cases. The facts of the Stanford case show that this was beyond a heinous crime. They had gotten away with the robbery, but still proceeded to unnecessarily torture Ms. Poore. When detained, Stanford appeared to be laughing when recalling the events and showed no remorse (Hatch & Walsh, 2016). I think that because this crime was so atrocious and Stanford showed no remorse, his death sentence was justified. In relation to 16/17 year old juveniles, if the death penalty is used very sparingly and only in cases that showed complete malice and no point of return, then the death penalty is justified. In this case, there was no mistaking who committed the crime either, and that is another reason why the sentence was justified. In addition to using it sparingly when it comes to juveniles, the courts should also employee a higher level of scrutiny than super due process, in order to confirm guilt. This is because these are young adults so a mistake in the courts could take away the years that they should be growing and learning, which is even more detrimental.

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While I found my reasoning to justify this sentencing in the dissenting opinion, I agreed most with the majority opinion. While there were 15 states that did not allow the death penalty for 16 and younger and 12 states that banned it for 17 and under, these state restrictions are not enough for the Supreme Court to call it unconstitutional (Hatch & Walsh, 2016). The court is there to decide if something is constitutional or not and if it is, there states can decide whether or not to enact it, but the courts should not have to rely on states’ opinions when their purpose is to interpret the constitution. I also agreed with this opinion because it showed how many states were against the death sentence for juveniles, but because it was an extreme case Stanford was given the death penalty and the court upheld that because the states opinion could not have a bearing on the interpretation of the constitution.”

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