Bright Line Has Been Drawn for Juvenile Executions: Thompson v. Oklahoma, The
Walker, Kathleen M.
INTRODUCTION|In 1988, the United States Supreme Court reached a split decision in Thompson v. Oklahoma. The plurality in Thompson determined that the execution of a juvenile who was fifteen years of age at the time of the capital offense would be a violation of the eighth amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Then in 1989, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Stanford v. Kentucky, another split decision, that the eighth amendment would not be violated by the execution of a juvenile offender who was at least sixteen years of age at the time of the criminal offense. In Thompson, the Court detailed the test to be used in determining whether the eighth amendment has been violated in cases involving capital punishment. This Note examines that test as developed in, Thompson and as applied by the plurality, concurrence, and dissent in that decision. This Note reviews the historical background of juvenile executions in the United States, as well as the Supreme Court precedents which lead to the modern application of the eighth amendment test. Finally, this Note concludes that while the plurality in Thompson applied the proper test of constitutionality, the rationale formulated by the dissent was more persuasive and should have been the law of the case...
23 Creighton L. Rev. 69 (1989-1990)
Creighton University School of Law