New Policy on the Death Penalty for Minors    
Paula Weldon
Kaplan University
CJ 523
Professor John Parham
June 12, 2012

New Policy on the Death Penalty for Minors    
Roper vs. Simmons
On March 1, 2005 the Roper v. Simmons murder trial took place. It was about this time that the Atkins v. Virginia trial was decided, and Atkins won the favor. Atkins filed for mental retardation which influenced the court in a huge way. In this era, if one was guilty of murder he or she deserved the death penalty. It was because of this belief that the 1st court decision of Roper v. Simmons was made. Christopher Simmons planned the burglary and murder of Shirley Cook with his friends in 1993; Simmons and one other friend met around midnight, and went to Shirley Cook’s house where they covered her eyes, tied her hands together, and tossed her off of a bridge. When they were caught the case went to trial.
The court had conclusive evidence that Simmons was indeed murderer, so Simmons had to admit to the crime. Even though Simmons had a spotless record the jury returned with a guilty verdict to the death penalty. The trial however, was moved to a lesser death penalty because Simmons asked the courts to consider the horrible childhood he had, his addition to drugs, and the accomplice he had with him at the time of the offense. The trial however rejected his move, but Simmons appealed. It was then that Simmons filed for a new petition for the state after hearing about the Atkins v Virginia trial and how the death sentence was overturned due to the eighth amendment. The 8th amendment prohibits unfair and cruel punishment, and this happened to be a main factor in the case. Simmons challenged the state of Missouri on the grounds of giving capital punishment to juveniles who commit crimes. His case was argued on October 13, 2004, but was not decided until March 1, 2005. Mr. Simmons received life in prison with no chances...