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Stanford v. Kentucky

Significance, Court Declares That Capital Punishment May Be Imposed On Those Over Sixteen Years Of Age


Kevin N. Stanford


State of Kentucky

Petitioner's Claim

That the imposition of a death sentence for a murder he committed when he was 17 years old violated the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Frank W. Heft, Jr.

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Frederic J. Cowan

Justices for the Court

Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia (writing for the Court), Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

26 June 1989


The Supreme Court upheld Stanford's death sentence.

Related Cases

  • Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958).
  • Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541 (1966).
  • In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967).
  • In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970).
  • Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976).
  • Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977).
  • Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815 (1988).


U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Capital Punishment 1996. Washington, DC: U.S. Government, 1997.

Further Readings

  • Dicks, Shirley, ed. Young Blood: Juvenile Justice and the Death Penalty. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995.
  • Kraemer, Rita. At a Tender Age: Violent Youth and Juvenile Justice. New York, NY: Holt, 1988.
  • Streib, Victor L. Death Penalty for Juveniles. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994