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Past Cases

On March 1, 2005 in the case of Roper v. Simmons, the US Supreme Court, held in a 5-4 vote that the death penalty, as applied to those under eighteen years of age at the time of the crime, violates evolving standards of decency and is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" of the US Constitution.

The page below consists of archived information.

For further information on the decision and context click here

The past cases section of the website archives those juvenile cases on which the project has worked.

  • Ryan Matthews
    Ryan Matthews Louisiana
    Borderline Mental Retardation
    August 9, 2004 - All charges dismissed. Matthews becomes the 115th death row inmate to be released.

  • Kevin Stanford
    Execution Date: Sentence has been commuted to life in prison.

    News Update

  • Scott Hain

    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Executed on April 3, 2003

  • Toronto Patterson
    Executed on August 28, 2002
    • Case Summary
    • The Supreme Court voted 6-3 against a stay for Patterson. Stevens, Ginsberg & Breyer dissent, expressing the view that after Atkins, the juvenile issue should be revisited at the earliest opportunity. Please click here for dissent.
    • The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 16 to 1 against recommending that Patterson's death sentence be commuted to life. They voted 17 to 0 against recommending a 120 day reprieve.
    • Case Timeline
    • Application for Certificate of Appealability & Brief in Support
    • Petition for Writ of Certiorari
    • Texas and Capital Punishment

  • T.J. Jones

  • Texas

    Executed on August 8, 2002
    • Texas and Capital Punishment

  • Napoleon Beazley
    Executed on May 28, 2002
    • May 28, 2002 - Napolean Beazley was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas, at 7:17 p.m.
    • May 28, 2002 - The Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles denies clemency for Napoleon Beazley.
    • May 24, 2002 - Friday afternoon the Supreme Court denied both the CERT petition and the stay motion for Napoleon Beazley.
    • April 26, 2002 - Judge sets May execution date for convicted killer Beazley.
    • April 17, 2002 - Stay of execution lifted for Napoleon Beazley.
    • February 2002 - Inter-American Commission issues precautionary measures.
    • August 21, 2001 - A timely stay / We should rethink the execution of young offenders.
    • August 18, 2001 - Law officials lobby Perry for death sentence--Letters respond to judge's appeal to spare man who killed at 17.
    • August 17, 2001 - Court may be waiting on opinion in unrelated case.
    • August 15, 2001 - Emergency Stay Issued by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
    • August 13, 2001 - US Supreme Court denies Stay and Board votes on Beazley.
    • Amicus Curiae Brief
    • Texas and Capital Punishment

  • Gerald Mitchell
    Houston (Harris County), Texas
    Executed on October 22, 2001
    • Case Summary
    • October 22, 2001 - Gerald Mitchell Executed.
    • October 22, 2001 - Stay and Cert petitions were denied by the US Supreme Court for Gerald Mitchell.
    • October 21, 2001 - Clemency, reprieve denied for killer set to die Monday -- Inmate was 17 at time of slaying during drug deal in Houston.
    • Upcoming execution breaks the law.
    • Amnesty International Report: "The day of my scheduled execution is fast approaching..."
      A plea for life and respect for international law.
    • October 11, 2001 - Execution stay denied juvenile killer
      Houston Chronicle.
    • October 11, 2001 - Gerald Mitchell's successor state petition for habeas corpus was rejected.
    • The Motion for Stay.
    • September 25, 2001 - Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal.
    • Letters asking for clemency on behalf of Gerald Mitchell.

    • Texas and Capital Punishment

  • Joseph Ward
    Execution Date: Death penalty has been dropped.
    • January 29, 2002 - In the case of Joseph Ward, the District Attorney has dropped the death penalty against him, amending the indictment to second degree murder.
    • October 23, 2001 - Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal.

  • Alexander Williams
    Mental Illness
    Execution Date: Sentence Commuted to Life Without the Possibility of Parole.
    • Case Summary
    • November 26, 2002 - Alexander Williams apparently committed suicide in his cell.
    • February 25, 2002: Granted clemency by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole. His sentence was commuted to Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
    • February 20, 2002: Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles grants a five day stay of execution.