Right now, states that allow the death penalty may impose it on killers who were 16 or 17 at the time of their crimes. The high court says it'll reopen the question of whether executing people that age violates the Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment."
This comes two years after the high court ended executions of the mentally retarded. Only the U.S. and a handful of other countries allow execution of juvenile killers. The case is about a Missouri man who was 17 when he robbed a woman, wrapped her head in duct tape and threw her off a railroad bridge. The state Supreme Court declared his death sentence unconstitutional because of his age.
The Supreme Court's calendar for the current term is full, so this case will probably be decided next term.
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