Considering Roper vs. Simmons in Waiver/Bind over Cuyahoga County Bar Association, March, 2007

The United States Supreme Court recently held in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid the imposition of the death penalty on offenders who were younger than eighteen years of age at the time the crime(s) were committed. The Court reasoned that since juveniles are more immature and irresponsible, they are less morally culpable for their conduct as compared to adults.

This article cites a trend of legal arguments questioning whether trying juveniles in adult court (waiver/bind over proceedings) is constitutional under the holding in Roper.1 The authors discuss the case and apply its core arguments to waiver/bind over proceedings that primarily consider the psychological/developmental perspective of juvenile offenders in light of the pressing concerns of dangerousness, sophistication/maturity and amenability to rehabilitation requirements outlined in Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541 (1966).