The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether executing convicts who were juveniles as the time of the crime violates the “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibiton in the Constitution. Oral arguments are not likely until the fall.
The Associated Press says the high court will review a Missouri Supreme Court ruling in the case of Christopher Simmons. The state court voided a death sentence for Simmons’ murdering a woman in 1993. Last year, four justices declared that executing juvenile killer is “shameful.”
The outcome may turn on the high court’s view of public opinion on the subject. The AP says that 17 states that allow the death penalty for older convicts bar it for those who were under 18 when committing a crime. The Death Penalty Information Center says there are 82 inmates on death rows for crimes committed under 18. States have put 22 such inmates to death in recent years.