Roper V. Simmons Essay

872 Words4 Pages
In Roper v. Simmons there are two issues that must be addressed, the first being the issue of moral maturity and culpability. The defense in the trial phase of this case argued that Mr. Simmons was an at an age where he was not responsible enough to fully understand the effects and consequences of his actions. The majority draws on Atkins v. Virginia to argue that this specific precedent supports their case that the death penalty should not be imposed on the mentally immature or impaired. However, an important point to be made is that the Atkins v. Virginia decision is geared towards the clinical definition of mental retardation: significant limitations that limit adaptive skills. Also, another important question to consider is the competency and premeditation of Mr. Simmons’ crime in this case. The argument that four months would be…show more content…
The most important issue that must be addressed in this case is the principle of the “evolving standards of decency” and the uses of a national consensus. The “evolving standards of decency” were developed by Trop v. Dulles and have been implemented in one way or another in all of the precedents dealing with “cruel and unusual” punishment. It is important to treat these principles as an important aspect of “cruel and unusual” punishment jurisprudence, therefore turning from these set of principles would be foolish and a disregard for every precedent. However, it is important to acknowledge that each case satisfies the standards by using a different method; some use the presence or lack of state legislature as a judgment of consensus while others look at foreign countries. Both of the methods mentioned above are not helpful because they require inferences or distant connections in order to be a logical argument. In Atkins v. VA, the majority was unable to use the state legislatures to support their claim of a nation consensus, therefore the Court spun the contradictory information to suggest there is a
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