Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Roper v. Simmons
Keith Gregory Logan
Racial discrimination in the imposition of the death penalty continues as a subject of controversy within the criminal justice system. In 2004, juveniles who were members of ethnic/ racial minorities were disproportionately sentenced to death. But in 2005, the issue of race in such cases became moot as a result of the Supreme Court's ruling in Roper v. Simmons. The issue for the Court to decide was whether the meaning of “cruel and unusual punishment” was to remain unchanged since the adoption of the Bill of Rights in the 18th century or whether it should be defined by current events and a new consensus in the United States or among nations. This question had been presented to the Supreme Court numerous times from different perspectives. In Roper v. Simmons , the Court was asked to decide whether executing an individual for a murder committed when he was 17 constituted cruel ...