Should teen-aged murders be executed for their crimes? The Supreme Court doesn’t want to make a federal decision on this issue. Read the AP story on CNN.com.
“The practice of executing such offenders is a relic of the past and is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society,” wrote Justice John Paul Stevens.
This statement represents a complete abdication of responsibility by Justice Stevens. Seventeen year old killers are just as aware of their actions as eighteen year olds. In fact, juvenile criminals rely on their status as minors as a mitigator of punishment when their pre-meditate their crimes. Justice Stevens is, for all of his lofty position, frightfully ignorant of the society for which he is responsible for upholding the law.
In response to the same case, Justic Stephen Breyer wrote that the court should consider a second death penalty case that asks whether it was unconstitutional to leave inmates for decades on death row.
Breyer was asking the right question; ironically, however, he was addressing the issue in the wrong direction.
It certainly is cruel and unusual to keep murderers on death row for decades. Cruel and unusual to the family and friends of the victim who must carry on their lives knowing the monster who put an end to the life of their loved one(s) is allowed to continue to live out a sub-human existence.
Thankfully, five justices had the sense to realize remedies allowed for by the states of this nation are what’s needed to rid our society of those who prey upon the innocents within it.