Rona L. Just


The juvenile justice system was created to "treat" and to "rehabilitate" the juvenile offender. But transfers to the adult criminal system allows for juvenile offenders to receive the death penalty for capital crimes. This Note examines the theories of punishment underlying the death penalty, briefly discusses the creation of the juvenile court system and the mechanism of juvenile transfer. This Note then discusses the development of the death penalty by examining Supreme Court cases which have considered state laws challenged under the eighth amendment as forms of cruel and unusual punishment. Supreme Court decisions which have extended constitutional guarantees to minors in the areas of criminal prosecutions and privacy rights also are examined. The decision of the Court in Eddings v. Oklahoma is then analyzed as with the conflicting state and federal decisions and capital punishment statutes. Finally, this Note proposes a model amendment to existing death penalty statutes which prohibits capital punishment of juveniles.

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