SAGE Journal Articles

Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.

Article 1: Benekos, P. J., & Merlo, A.V. (2005). Juvenile offenders and the death penalty. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 3(4), 316–333.

Abstract: In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that because they are less culpable and less able to deliberate about their behaviors, the execution of mentally retarded offenders exceeded the prevailing standards of decency (Atkins v. Virginia). Based on this rationale, and with increasing concerns over wrongful convictions and the execution of innocent defendants, some questioned whether the court’s decision could also apply to juvenile offenders. In March 2005, the majority of the justices determined that executing adolescent offenders violated the Eighth Amendment (Roper v. Simmons). This article reviews (a) recent court decisions on the death penalty, (b) citizen and student opinions on juvenile executions, and (c) comparative policies on juvenile executions. The authors also discuss the politics of the death penalty and the consequences of Roper on juvenile justice policy.

Article 2: Applegate, B. K., & Davis, R. K. (2006). Public views on sentencing juvenile murderers: The impact of offender, offense, and perceived maturity. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 4(1), 55–74.

Abstract: Concerns about juvenile murderers were raised by increases in juvenile homicide rates between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Little is known, however, about what level of punishment the public desires for such youths. Using a randomly selected sample of Florida citizens and a factorial vignette survey approach, the present study assesses the impact of characteristics of the offender, aspects of the offense, and perceptions of a youth’s maturity on public preferences for the punishment of juvenile murderers. Our findings show that the public favors short sentences of incarceration or less punitive responses in most cases and that the most salient determinant of punitiveness is the type of murder committed. These results are discussed in light of prior research and current policy directions.