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Roper v. Simmons

Docket No.: 03-633
Certiorari Granted: Jan 26 2004
Argued: October 13, 2004
Decided: March 1, 2005

Topics:

Amendment 8: Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Criminal Procedure, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Death Penalty, Abortion, Bill of Rights, Death Penalty, Double Jeopardy, Due Process, Eighth Amendment, Equal Protection Clause, Establishment Clause, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, IIRIRA, Miranda, Sixth Amendment, Twenty-Sixth Amendment, capital murder, habeas, habeas corpus, immigration, ineffective assistance of counsel, murder, patent, separation of powers

PartyNames: Donald P. Roper, Superintendent, Potosi Correctional Center v. Christopher Simmons
Petitioner: Donald P. Roper, Superintendent, Potosi Correctional Center
Respondent: Christopher Simmons

Court Below: Supreme Court of Missouri
Citation: 112 SW3d 397
Supreme Court Docket

Donald P. Roper, Superintendent, Potosi Correctional Center
v.
Christopher Simmons
543 U.S. 551 (2005)
Background:

The Supreme Court of Missouri departed from this Court's holding in Stanford v. Kentucky, 492 U.S. 361 (1989), in which the Court upheld statutes under which the minimum age for capital punishment is sixteen. The Missouri court's decision raises two questions:

Question Presented:

1. Once this Court holds that a particular punishment is not "cruel and unusual" and thus barred by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, can a lower court reach a contrary decision based on its own analysis of evolving standards? 2. Is the imposition of the death penalty on a person who commits a murder at age seventeen "cruel and unusual," and thus barred by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Question:

Does the execution of minors violate the prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment" found in the Eighth Amendment and applied to the states through the incorporation doctrine of the 14th Amendment?

Roper v. Simmons
ORAL ARGUMENT

October 13, 2004

Holding: affirmed
Decision: Decision: 5 votes for Simmons, 4 vote(s) against
Vote: 5-4
Opinion By: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
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