Statement Re: The Decision to Commute the Death Penalty of Kevin Stanford
December 8, 2003 – Gov. Paul Patton’s decision to commute the death sentence of Kevin Stanford affirms that states should not be executing people who commit crimes as juveniles, even in the most egregious of cases.
Historically, states have held that people under 18 lack the decision-making capabilities to vote, join the armed forces, serve on a jury, or even buy cigarettes. Execution, the ultimate sanction, should be reserved for the “worst of the worst” offenders, defined according to a degree of intent and culpability that minors simply cannot meet.
The time has come for all states to cease executing those who commit crimes as minors.