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Roper v. Simmons

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Paola Lozano-Sanchez

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Roper v. Simmons

Roper V. Simmons I do not believe in the death penalty, I think being sentenced to jail does enough if not more damage to the person that has committed a crime big enough for a death sentence, especially as a minor. I. II. Introduction (Thesis Statement) This case started because a 17-year-old boy killed a women and was given the death penalty even though he was a minor when he committed his crime of murder. A. How the Case Originated Historical Evidence B. Parties, Facts, and Issues The parties of the case were Roper (prosecution), and Simmons (defense). This case started in 1993 where he was given the death sentence for planning his attack on Shirley Crook, and then killing her. He broke into her house, tied her to a chair, put duct tape over her eyes and mouth and threw her off a nearby bridge into a body of water. There was a very large amount of evidence against him, (even before he confessed to his actions). The jury decided that capitol punishment would be best for him, even as a minor. Many years past and it wasn't until 2002 when his case was brought up again because of Atkins v. Virginia. A case that made the Supreme Court rethink his punishment. The case Roper v. Simmons is about a boy trying to avoid the death penalty because giving capitol punishment to a minor is against the eighth amendment, and is considered a cruel and unusual punishment. III. Arguments A. Petitioner V. Impact VI. Conclusion IV. Results C. Other Relevant Cases Atkins v. Virginia This is the court case that had Christopher Simmons' sentence to death reconsidered. This court case stated that executing the mentally ill was against the eighth and fourteenth amendment on cruel and unusual punishment. This court case stated that it was not cruel and unusual to execute minors, but eventually the majority of American's opinions changed and later it was said that executing minors was not considered constitutional. This case was about a 15-year-old boy who killed his sister's husband due to constant abuse from him. Even though he was still a minor, he was found responsible for his actions and sentenced to death. This case was looked at again in 2005 after Roper v. Simmons. Because of Atkins v. Virginia, Johnny Paul Penry, a mentally ill boy, was spared the death sentence. 2002 1989 1989 1988 B. Respondent (one defending the suit) (one bringing the suit) Christopher Simmons won his court case, his original sentence to Capital Punishment was removed because according to the eighth amendment, giving the death penalty to minors (anybody under 18) is a cruel and unusual punishment. Instead of being executed, he was sentenced to life in jail without parole.
At age 17 you are completely aware of what you are doing, especially if you do not have a mental disability, meaning that in my opinion the argument that you aren't fully sure of your actions, or your brain isn't fully developed before you are legally an adult is unreasonable. Simmons planned out his attack, he knew every single step of his crime before it was committed, and yet he is considered not old enough to know what he is doing.
Some might say that he should have been given the death penalty, but in my opinion, having to live with so much guilt, in terrible conditions, and knowing that it will never end, seems just as good of a punishment. I do not in any means think what Christopher Simmons did was okay, but i do think it is okay that he was not killed because of it. A. What Was Added to or Taken Away The decision of Roper v. Simmons (2005), has now made executing an offender under the age of 18 unconstitutional. B. Subsequent Case/s Stanford v. Kentucky Thompson v. Oklahoma Penry v. Lynaugh The petitioner (Roper) believed that Simmons was old enough to receive the death penalty, he also believed that the crime Simmons committed was severe enough to execute him. Simmons fought that Capital Punishment was unconstitutional because the age he committed his crime was less than 18. He said executing a minor would be against the eighth amendment, it would be a form of cruel and unusual punishment. A. Holding (what Supreme Court said) B. Holding (decision with reasoning) 1. Majority: The majority of the votes were for Simmons. There were 5 votes for Simmons, and 4 votes against. 2. Concurring: Justice John P. Stevens and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a concurring opinion, it said, "Perhaps even more important than our specific holding today is our reaffirmation of the basic principle that informs the Court’s interpretation of the Eighth Amendment. If the meaning of that Amendment had been frozen when it was originally drafted, it would impose no impediment to the execution of 7-year-old children today." 3. Dissenting: Justice Scalia, Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Thomas, and justice O’ Connor all wrote a dissent. They wrote about how maybe a national consensus had not been reached about the death penalty and minors because only 47% of states did not allow capital punishment to be given to minors. The court held that the Death Penalty could not be used on juvenile offenders. Thompson v. Oklahoma Annotated Bibliography

ROPER v. SIMMONS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 21 May 2013. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2004/2004_03_633/>.

This is where i got most of my information for the project. I also found my primary sources on this website, they were links to the arguments and opinions of trial, and a recording of it. I would put the citation separately, but when you click the link, the arguments and opinions do not open up on a new tab, meaning they do not have a new web address.

"ROPER V. SIMMONS." ROPER V. SIMMONS. N.p., 13 Oct. 2004. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-633.ZS.html>.

This website gave me information on my case. It helped me with details about why he was even accused for murder. It also helped me with learning about the Stanford v.Kentucky, a case that was similar to mine.

"U. S. Supreme Court: Roper v. Simmons, No. 03-633." Death Penalty Information Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/u-s-supreme-court-roper-v-simmons-no-03-633>.

This website is where I found the direct quote from Justice Ginsberg and Justice Stevens. It also helped me learn more about the Holdings and the justice’s opinions.

PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/socialstudies/juvenile_deathpenalty.html>.

I got information about my case from this website. It helped me understand a bit more of the defendant’s claims over the prosecution’s.

"Roper v. Simmons | Casebriefs." Casebriefs. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/criminal-procedure/criminal-procedure-keyed-to-weinreb/sentence/roper-v-simmons-2/>.

This website helped me with knowing a little more about the death penalty. It helped me understand why some people believe in Capital Punishment and why others don’t.

"Roper v Simmons (2005)." Roper v Simmons (2005). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/RopervSimmons.html>.

I learned more about my case at this website. It helped me with facts and the background of the crime Simmon’s committed.

"Roper v. Simmons." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 May 2013. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roper_v._Simmons>.

Wikipedia helped me learn more about the background of my case and specific details about it. It also gave me links to some of the other websites I used. Even though Wikipedia is not a reliable resource, I made sure that every information that I took from the website was also on another website to backup what i had learned. I also went to the links on Wikipedia to make sure the information on there actually came from a real and trusted source.

"Interview Jeffrey Fagan." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/whenkidsgetlife/interviews/fagan.html>.

This website was my favorite because it was an interview on someone who I came to believe is an expert on cruel and unusual punishment with minors. I got to hear a professional’s opinion on the case and about the eighth amendment and what it means to him, also his view on capital punishment given to minors. A Killer Case In Our Supreme Court
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