- Indiana Bars
Execution of Juvenile Offenders -
became the 16th state to forbid the death penalty for those who were
18 years-of-age at the time of their crime. Gov. Frank O'Bannon signed
SB 426 on March 26. The law also requires judges to follow juries'
sentencing recommendations. (Associated Press, 3/ 26/02.) Federal death
penalty law similarly excludes juvenile offenders. An additional 5
restrict the death penalty to those who are at least 17 at the time of
- A trial
court judge in Indianapolis ruled that
state's death penalty statute was unconstitutional in light of a recent
U.S. Supreme Court decision. Judge Grant W. Hawkins held that
statute effectively denied death row inmate Charles Barker his right to
trial by jury, and dismissed the death penalty as a sentencing option
Barker's upcoming resentencing hearing.
Hawkins based his ruling on Apprendi
v. New Jersey (530 U.S. 466 (2000)). In Apprendi, the U.S.
Court held that any fact, other than a prior conviction, that increases
the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be
submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
In Indiana, the jury makes an
unbinding recommendation to the judge, who sentences the
defendant. Judge Hawkins ruled that the Indiana statute violates
it is possible that a judge could sentence an inmate to death even
a jury has failed to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, the existence of
an aggravating factor. (Order on Supplemental Motion to Dismiss Death
September 10, 2001)