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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

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 Supremes nix execution for juveniles

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states.

The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.

The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.

John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter joined the majority. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented.

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