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Capital Punishment And Life Sentences For Juvenile Offenders

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents the Capital Punishment and Life Sentences for Juvenile Offenders. Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was, for many years, seen as one of the main obstacles to its ratification by the United States. Article 37 (a) required state parties to ensure that children would not be subject to "torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The article also forbade capital punishment and the imposition of "life imprisonment without possibility of release" for crimes committed by persons below the age of 18. Article 37 (b) provides a child with due process of law and specifies that imprisonment be used only as a measure of last resort, and then only for the shortest appropriate time. The Supreme Court thus held that the death penalty was prohibited as cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

Keywords: CRC; Juvenile death penalty; Supreme Court; United States



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