New Hampshire Senate, Wyoming House Pass Bills to Ban Juvenile Death Penalty

Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty for juvenile offenders, two state legislative bodies have passed measures to ban the practice. The New Hampshire Senate passed its bill to ban the execution of those who were under the age of 18 at the time of their offense on February 19, 2004. The measure now moves to the House, where a committee hearing and vote are expected in the coming weeks. The Wyoming House also passed a measure to ban the execution of juvenile offenders. The House voted 45-12 in support of the bill on February 20, and members of the Wyoming Senate are expected to consider the ban next week. A bill is also advancing in the South Dakota legislature. Currently, 17 of the 38 states that maintain capital punishment forbid the execution of those who were juveniles at the time of their crime. The juvenile death penalty is also forbidden under the federal government's statute. See Juvenile Death Penalty. See Recent Legislative Activity.