THOMPSON v. OKLAHOMA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
86-6169
Petitioner 
Thompson
Respondent 
Oklahoma
Advocates
(By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

At the age of 15 years Thompson was tried as an adult, convicted of first degree murder, and sentenced to death. On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma affirmed. The Supreme Court granted Thompson certiorari.

Question 

Would the execution of a 15 year old violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishments"?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Thompson, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 8: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Yes. After noting that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishments" applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court held that the execution of a person under the age of 16 was unconstitutional. In noting the uniform ban among all relevant state statutes against the execution of one under the age of 16, the Court explained that such an act would violate the "evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." The case was reversed and remanded.

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THOMPSON v. OKLAHOMA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 July 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1987/1987_86_6169/>.
THOMPSON v. OKLAHOMA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1987/1987_86_6169/ (last visited July 30, 2014).
"THOMPSON v. OKLAHOMA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 30, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1987/1987_86_6169/.