D. Brian Woo

Document Type



In 2005, the United States Supreme Court held, in Roper v. Simmons, that the execution of convicted juveniles violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. In addressing the issue, the Court determined that a national consensus had developed against the execution of juveniles. Ultimately, a majority of the court decided that a national public consensus had been reached against the execution of juveniles under 18 in age. With Roper, no longer can juveniles of any age be executed. This decision will undoubtedly affect the entire juvenile penal system, from how cases enter the system, to how they exit the system. And in a system so reliant on plea bargaining, Roper has now removed the ultimate retributive factor-the possibility that a jury will sentence the juvenile to death-from the prosecutor's deck of cards. No longer can the prosecutor seek the death penalty in juvenile cases, in order to receive a plea bargain for a lesser sentence. This comment examines the effect Roper v. Simmons will have on plea bargaining in the juvenile system.