Stanford v Kentucky

One of the many amazing things about the function of The Supreme Court is that it can revisit already
determined decisions made previously, and they can hear a different case on the same issue. Stanford v
Kentucky and Roper v Simmons are examples of this phenomenon. Both cases deal with the issue of
applying the death penalty for juveniles over the age of sixteen who were waived into the adult court.
Both of these cases question the constitutionality of this practice, but they were heard by The High Court
and ruled upon decades apart.
Provide a case brief on both Stanford v Kentucky and Roper v Simmons. A legal brief requires the
following: the case title, statement of the issue of the case, the details of the case background, and the
way in which the court ruled, with an explanation supporting that ruling.
At the conclusion of these legal briefs, take a stand on which ruling you think was correct. Do you support
the original decision in Stanford? Or, do you think the court was correct in striking down Stanford in the
Roper ruling

Stanford v Kentucky


In the case known as Stanford V Kentucky was settled on the 29th of September, 1989, through the United States supreme court. At 17 years old, an Kentucky jury found Stanford Kevin of different crimes such as murder, robbery sodomy and receiving stolen property (Oyez 2022). A few of the offenses Stanford was found guilty of are classified as felony class A which , at the time, could be punished with death in certain states.


The question was whether the respondent was guilty of murder but was under the age of the majority. So, the question of whether it would be legal to give the person the capital punishment, despite being as being under the age of majority.

Decisions and reasoning for ruling

The court decided it was found that Stanford had been found guilty of capital crimes. According to Kentucky statute, he received an execution sentence. The reasoning behind this was that even though Stanford was just six months away from becoming a majority age and had committed a capital crimes. The supreme court’s 5-4 majority decision ruled that this sentence is legal because the imposition of capital punishment to a person for a crime committed under that age not necessarily mean that they are subject to harsh punishment or unusual sentence in accordance with the eighth amendment to the United States constitution (Legal Information Institute 2022). In spite of the majority ruling, Stanford appealed his case on two grounds: the defendant was a minor and ought to be considered a juvenile in the juvenile court, and that the decision was cruel and unusual , especially because he hadn’t reached the threshold of the majority. This was a case where the court confirmed that minors were executed if they committed crimes that are considered capital crimes in the Constitution.

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