Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE NATION

Death Penalty Divide Still There

October 22, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court revealed deep divisions over the death penalty Monday as justices used unusually strong language regarding the constitutionality of executing people who killed when they were juveniles and about exceedingly long waits on death row.

The high court declined to hear two capital murder cases: one for a man given the death penalty for a killing he committed when he was 17 and the other for a man who has spent nearly three decades waiting to die.

The court split along traditional lines, with the four more liberal justices saying the court should continue a reexamination of the death penalty begun last year when it banned executions of the mentally retarded. The four said it was "shameful" to execute juvenile killers.

"The practice of executing such offenders is a relic of the past and is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

No justice wrote separately to defend the practice.

Breyer filed a separate opinion to say the court should consider whether it is unconstitutional to leave inmates on death row for an extended time.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|