Supreme Court hears arguments in juvenile capital punishment, deportation cases

As reported earlier on JURIST's Paper Chase, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases Wednesday, one raising the constitutionality of the death penalty for juveniles and the other dealing with the detention of illegal aliens by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The ABA has briefs filed in both cases. In Roper v. Simmons (case summary from Duke Law School), the Court confronted the juvenile capital punishment question, an issue upon which it has divided. The four most liberal members of the court, Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter and Stevens, have all voiced opposition to the practice of executing those convicted of killing under the age of 18, citing consensus among other countries that it is wrong. Justice Kennedy, who along with Justice O'Connor is expected to cast a key swing vote in the case, was one of the most active justices in arguments, questioning what impact the removal of a deterrent would have for future crimes. The death penalty is currently allowed for juvenile killers in 19 states. The ABA, which opposes the death penalty for minority killers, has more on the juvenile death penalty. AP has quotes from argument and more. In the consolidated case of Clark v. Martinez and Benitez v. Rozos (case summary from Duke Law School), the Court considered whether its previous case, Zadvyas v. Davis, requires the release of inadmissible aliens by the INS (now US Citizenship and Immigration Services).

 

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