Issue: The goal of this paper is to show the pros and cons and give information on the juvenile death penalty. For the purpose of consistency in this paper, the definition that comes to mind when I hear "juvenile offenders" are those under the age of 18 at the time of their crime. Although there are those who have good arguments for the juvenile death penalty, which will be presented later on in my paper, I think that it's a shameful practice. The following quote written by Robert Hirshon, is also my position on the juvenile death penalty: "The practice of executing individuals for crimes committed when they were children is unacceptable in a civilian society, irrespective of guilt or innocense. As citizens, persons under the age of 18 cannot vote, serve on juries, make medical decisions for themselves, or enter into contracts. We do not permit juveniles to conduct these activities because we believe that they lack the capacity to fully appreciate the consequences of their actions; it is deeply troubling that we, as a democratic society, then pass laws allowing their execution. Executing those on death row for the crimes committed as children, serves no principled purpose and only demeans our system of justice" (American Bar Association, pg1). .
2. Background: Actual Executions of juvenile offenders sentenced to death began in 1642 (Dr. Geary, VCU CRJS Department). Since that time at least 365 juvenile offenders have been executed, an average of one per year. These 365 juvenile offender executions have been imposed by 38 states and the federal government. Twenty one of these 365 executions for juvenile crimes have been carried out during the current era (1973-2002). These 21executions are listed in the lines below.
EXECUTIONS OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS, .
JANUARY 1, 1973, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2002.
Charles Rumbaugh 9-11-1985 Texas 17 .
J. Terry Roach 1-10-1986 So. Car. 17 .
Jay Pinkerton 5-15-1986 Texas 17.