Statement Re: Roper v. Simmons
March 1, 2005 — This is truly a landmark decision. The ABA has long believed that the death penalty is an inappropriate punishment for juveniles. Clear scientific research shows that juveniles, like the mentally retarded, are less morally culpable than adults due to their reduced capacity for moral judgment, self-restraint, and ability to resist the influence of others. Society and the law have long recognized this with restrictions on such things as a juvenile’s ability to vote or consume alcohol. Today, the court also recognizes that juveniles are different, and that those differences make the death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment for them.
It is also important to note, as the Court did, the evolving national and international consensus against the juvenile death penalty. The ABA joins those voices and applauds the abolishment of this practice.