That being said, I find the logic of the majority weak, relying as it does on international standards and a growing consensus in the states. I don't know that the Supereme Court has ever before relied on international standards in its law, so I am quite surprised the court felt that it could look there today ("The overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty is not controlling here, but provides respected and significant confirmation for the Court's determination that the penalty is disproportionate punishment for offenders under 18."). And despite the fact that five states have changed their laws to prohibit the death penalty on juveniles since the Supreme Court last visited the issue (and upheld the ability to execute juveniles), of the states that allow the death penalty (38), the majority of them (20) allow its application to minors.
To be fair, the Court relied on more than just consensus. It also applied the following logic, which it had previously applied to juveniles under 16, and to the mentally retarded:
- The death penalty is reserved for "those offenders who commit 'a narrow category of the most serious crimes' and whose extreme culpability makes them 'the most deserving of execution.'"
- Because juveniles are not fully mature, they lack such extreme culpability, and so not "even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile is evidence of irretrievably depraved character."