Is the Death of the Death Penalty Near? The Impact of Atkins and Roper on the Future of Capital Punishment for Mentally Ill Defendants

52 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2007  

Helen Shin

Fordham Law Review

Abstract

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court created two categorical exemptions to the death penalty for offenders who are considered to have diminished culpability as compared to other capital defendants. In Atkins v. Virginia, the Court exempted mentally retarded offenders. Three years later, in Roper v. Simmons, the Court extended the protection to juveniles. Based on these cases, the practices of foreign countries, and the opinions of professional organizations with relevant expertise, legal scholars speculate that the Court may, in the future, categorically exclude severely mentally ill offenders from the death penalty. This Note examines the feasibility of such an exemption for the mentally ill and considers its possible repercussions.

Keywords: Death Penalty, Mentally Ill, Capital Punishment, Mental Illness, Atkins, Roper

Suggested Citation

Shin, Helen, Is the Death of the Death Penalty Near? The Impact of Atkins and Roper on the Future of Capital Punishment for Mentally Ill Defendants. Fordham Law Review, Vol. 76, No. 1, pp. 465-516, October 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1023321

Helen Shin (Contact Author)

Fordham Law Review ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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