The juvenile death penalty: A frustrated society's attempt for control


  • Mr. James R. P. Ogloff M.A.

    Corresponding author
    1. Law/Psychology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    • Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 209 Burnett Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308
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    • The author would like to thank Daniel Wolfe, Alan Tomkins and Dennis Fox for their comments and careful reading of this article.


The United States is alone among western industrialized nations in allowing a provision for the juvenile death penalty. Specifically, 92% of the juveniles presently sentenced to death were convicted under a felony-murder doctrine which eliminates the state's burden of proving the mens rea requirement for murder. The high rate of felony-murder convictions of juveniles on death row is highly inconsistent with theories of punishment which have traditionally been used to support the death penalty.