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Juvenile Death Penalty: Statement by Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Roper vs. Simmons

CONTACT: Kay Torrance

ATLANTA....Rosalynn and I are pleased to see that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled today that executing juvenile offenders is cruel and unusual punishment. With this ruling, the United States acknowledges the national trend against juvenile capital punishment and joins the community of nations, which uniformly renounces this practice.

The Supreme Court decision confirms recent, compelling scientific research findings, that the capacity for curbing impulsiveness, using sound judgment, and exercising self-control is much less developed in adolescents than in adults. America's justice system punishes people based on their culpability, and this ruling acknowledges the profound inconsistency in prohibiting those under 18 years of age from voting, serving in the military, or buying cigarettes, while allowing them to be sentenced to the ultimate punishment.

Read the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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