Friday, October 30, 2009

Adolescent cognitive maturity and capital punishment: APA American Psychologist articles and amicus briefs

I had just started reading the latest issue of the American Psychologist with great interest, when Karen Franklin (In the News Blog) posted a nice summary of the featured article.  A central issue in the featured article, which also had some response counter-point articles, is what appears at face value to be APA's schizophrenic stance, as articulated in two different Amicus Briefs, re: whether adolescents have the cognitive maturity to make certain decisions (criminal behavior vs ability to make decision for an abortion).  As a result of eventual court decisions, juvinelle's can not be consider for capital punishment (death penalty).  The articles make for interesting reading re: the use of psychological research to inform judical thinking and decision-making.

The two different APA Amicus Briefs can be found at Psychology and the LawRoper v Simmons (2005) and Hodgson v Minnesota (1990).  A more recent APA Amicus Brief related to juvenile sentencing and the death penalty (Graham v Florida; Florida v Sullivan) is also of interest for capital punishment cases.  All APA Amicus Briefs can be reviewed by clicking here.

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