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Roper V. Simmons Criminal Justice Case

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Christopher Simmons was a seventeen year old juvenile from Missouri whom in 1993 along with two of his friends, Charles Benjamin and John Tessmer, planned to rob and murder Shirley Crook in her home (Roper v. Simmons, 2004). On the night the crime was to be committed, Tessmer pulled out of the plan, and Simmons and Benjamin would continue on as planned. The two broke into the Ms. Crook’s home, robbed her, tied her up, covered up her eyes, then drove her to a state park and threw her off a bridge. During the trial, evidence, videotaped reenactment and testimony outlining the premeditated plan, allowed for the jury to easily convict Simmons of the crime. Even though Simmons had no previous criminal record and was a minor at the time the crime was committed,…show more content…
Additionally, the Court looked into capital punishment practices in other countries. At the time they began hearing the case, the United States was the only country that still had the death penalty as an available sentencing option for juveniles who were found guilty of murder (Arvin, 2005). Justice Scalia, Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Thomas, and Justice O’Connor had a dissenting opinion of the case (Williams, 2005). The dissent was primarily questioning if there was now a national consensus that juveniles would not be sentenced to death. Justices Scalia and Thomas questioned whether the consensus was even relevant and if the execution of juveniles was considered cruel and unusual punishment at the time that the Bill of Rights was enacted. Additionally, Justice Scalia felt that the Court’s review of international law has no determination of how the Constitution was interpreted (Frank, 2007). He argued that the Court should rule on what the law determines is legal and not how the law should read and any changes should be enacted by the legislature and not the Court themselves. Justice Kennedy, Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer held the
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