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2003

SSRN

Juvenile Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Atkins, Adolescence And The Maturity Heuristic: Rationales For A Categorical Exemption For Juveniles From Capital Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2003

Atkins, Adolescence And The Maturity Heuristic: Rationales For A Categorical Exemption For Juveniles From Capital Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

In Atkins v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court held that mentally retarded people lacked a range of developmental capacities that were necessary to establish the higher threshold of culpability for the execution of murderers in the Court's death penalty jurisprudence. The Court emphasized that the impairments of mental retardation lead to a ... special risk of wrongful execution. The Court had previously concluded that the limitations in developmental capacities that characterize mentally retarded defendants also characterize a significant proportion of adolescent offenders. These parallels invite an extension of the Atkins Court's reasoning to juveniles by highlighting the diminished capacity for …