The Role of International Human Rights Law in the American Decision to Abolish the Juvenile Death Penalty


Nine months before his eighteenth birthday, Christopher Simmons and one accomplice, Charles Benjamin, carried out a brutal murder. They planned to break into someone's home, tie up the occupant, and throw the person off a bridge. Simmons thought they could "get away with it" because of their age...

Section II of this article considers case law development on the juvenile death penalty and the rationale of Simmons. Section III reviews the status of the juvenile death penalty under human rights treaties and customary international law. Section IV looks more closely at the role of international law in the Simmons decision. Section V considers the role of international law in future Court decisions, specifically the death penalty for adult offenders. Lastly, Section VI concludes this article with a summarization and speculation of future rulings.

Excerpted from 7 Appalachian J.L. 89 (2008). To read the full article, click here (login may be required).

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