Execution of Youth under Age 21 on the Date of Offense: Ending with a Bang or a Whimper?
33 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 14, 2019
Consistent with the scientific evidence that proves that adolescent brain development continues well into the third decade of life, the Supreme Court may be foreshadowing the day when an actual or de facto categorical ban will bar the death penalty for offenders who were under the age of 21 years old on the date of the offense. For almost two decades, death sentences and executions of such persons have been in steep decline – in absolute numbers and in geographical concentration. Over the same period, the minority percentage of those impacted has increased. The author joins the American Bar Association and other voices that have called for a categorical ban on execution of persons who were under the age of 21 years old at the date of offense.
Keywords: death penalty, executions, youth, adolescence, capital punishment
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