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High Court Asked to End Child Executions...

by Blake Cook / July 19, 2004 5:00 AM PDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Canada, Mexico and other U.S. allies, along with Nobel Peace Prize winners, former American diplomats and the nation's largest doctors' group asked the Supreme Court on Monday to end the execution of killers who committed their crimes as young teenagers.

The Supreme Court will reconsider this fall whether the punishment is unconstitutionally cruel, continuing a recent pattern of placing itself at the center of international debates over American laws and practices.

The United States is among only a few countries that allow execution for crimes committed before age 18, and friend-of-the-court filings Monday said the practice leaves America diplomatically isolated and vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy on human rights issues.

"Countries whose human rights records are criticized by the United States have no incentive to improve their records when the United States fails to meet the most fundamental, baseline standards," said a filing on behalf of Nobel laureates including former President Carter and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.


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