In death penalty cases there is a requirement that
certain statutory aggravators must be present in order to
reach a death verdict. One such statutory aggravator in
most states is the defendant having previously committed
a felony, which can include crimes committed as a
juvenile. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that
sentencing a defendant to death for crimes they committed
as a juvenile is unconstitutional, many states' death
penalty statutes allow for the possibility that the sole
aggravator relied on for a verdict of death is a previous
juvenile conviction. This Note argues that based on the
Court's logic in Roper, and the continued developments in
juvenile brain science bolstering the Court's decision, the
use of such statutory aggravators to reach a death verdict
should be deemed unconstitutional.
O'Neill, Lesley A.
"An Aggravating Adolescence: An Analysis of Juvenile Convictions as Statutory Aggravators in Capital Cases,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 51:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol51/iss2/9