Christopher Simmons was a disturbed and abused kid who committed an atrocious offense at the age of 17. He murdered a adult female. His instance has major significance to the juvenile justness system. He eliminated the possibility of a juvenile to be sentenced to decease. He was sentenced to decease row and after multiple entreaties and a writ of habeas principal ; his charge was reduced to life in prison without possibility of word. However, based on the mitigating fortunes of his anterior history, the misdemeanor of his rights and the uneffective aid of advocate, his sentence of life in prison does non look justifiable.
Christopher Simmons had a program. His program was to perpetrate a burglary, chiefly. After he and his friends committed the burglary, he would bind the individual up and throw them off a span. He was certain he would non acquire caught due to his age ; nevertheless things did non turn out as planned. Chris intended on burglarising a “ voo-doo adult male ” because he was thought to hold a batch of money. However their victim turned out to be Shirley Crook.
It was September 8, 1993 at two in the forenoon. Chris Simmons, Brian Moomey, and his friend Benjamin went to Shirley ‘s house. They entered through the back door which was easy opened due to a window being unfastened. As Christopher went throughout the house he went to the sleeping room of Shirley Crook. She awoke from bed and Chris recognized her rapidly on the history that had gotten into a auto accident with anterior. Following, Chris went to acquire canal tape while Benjamin watched over her. Chris so taped Crook ‘s eyes and oral cavity. She had besides been tied with electric overseas telegram, leather straps and canal tape. The male child placed her into a mini-van and drive her to a railway trestle in Castlewood Park located in St. Louis County. “ There, Simmons bound her custodies and pess together, hog-tie manner, with the electrical overseas telegram and covered Mrs. Crook ‘s face wholly with canal tape. Simmons so pushed her off the railway trestle into the river below. ” Her organic structure was found the following twenty-four hours and Christopher Simmons was arrested. Her cause of decease was known to be submerging. Christopher Simmons was picked up by the bulls and questioned, but non decently harmonizing to the U.S. Constitution. His rights were violated. He was interrogated without advice of advocate or a guardian. Chris confessed, but non all excessively volitionally. Though, he did collaborate, he was forced to squeal. He felt as though he had no pick. He was told he must squeal or else he would be confronting life in prison or the decease punishment otherwise. Little did he cognize that by squealing he would hold to confront both those sentences.
The District Attorney offered Chris a pea deal to life in prison. Chris declined and the instance went to test. There they had shown a picture tape reenactment, of the dark Crook was murdered, that Chris performed at the offense scene. A witness testimony that came from his friend saying that it was planned and therefore turn outing there was forethought which makes any offense a first grade. Simmons moved for the test tribunal to put aside strong belief and sentencing for he had uneffective aid of advocate nevertheless the tribunal denied him. The test went on and in the terminal the jury came back with the determination that Simmons was guilty of the charges. “ The grounds presented was so minimum that at least one member of the jury, that James V. Biundo, a professor at Southeast Missouri State University, was left inquiring how it was possible that Simmons, a loving brother and good neighbour, could hold participated in such a offense. ” The jury recommended that Chris Simmons be sentenced to decease row. Chris appealed and filed for a writ of habeas principal. His defence lawyer ne’er brought up his life at place, merely that he was a “ loving individual ”
Chris was a merchandise of maltreatment and a really broken household. His female parent and male parent divorced and re-married. His populating state of affairs was with his female parent, Cheryl Hayes, and stepfather, Bob Hayes. He did nevertheless maintain in contact with his male parent. His parents divorced when he was merely a immature child. When his female parent got re-married, she married a adult male that would mistreat Chris to the point of insanity. Bob Hayes had two kids of his ain, both of which were non treated anyplace every bit severely as Chris had suffered. He was looked at like a slave. During the rating by a psychologist during his sentence, Bob Hayes admitted to binding Chris up to corner while he went fishing, deliberately, so he did non hold to watch him or concern of him rolling. There was besides witness to Chris acquiring hit in the ear, by his stepfather, so difficult that it drew blood and damaged his ear membranophone. The same informant, Christie Brooks, besides confessed that she saw Chris shortness of breaths due to the agonizing intervention of his stepfather ( IJP ) . Chris was disciplined with “ whooping ‘s ” and Bob subsequently began to torment Chris about his acne. He would on a regular basis keep him down squashing all of his hickeies until they bled. As for his female parent, she felt like a incapacitated victim every bit good. She was excessively afraid to step in with Bob and Chris and halt the maltreatment ( American Bar Association ) .
Chris besides faced drug and intoxicant jobs. Harmonizing to a psychologist, given his environment in which Simmons was raised and his household ‘s anterior generational history of psychiatric unwellnesss and substance maltreatment, which is reported by his household, Christopher Simmons was predisposed to developing a psychiatric unwellness. When Chris was a adolescent he drank and smoked weed every twenty-four hours. He besides did LSD and shrooms. He turned to drugs and intoxicant non merely because of bad cistrons but besides because of the deficiency of support from his household and his demand for flight. It was a manner to cut down his anxiousness. The psychological effects on Christopher of turning up in this alcoholic and opprobrious environment provide extenuating factors which a jury should hold had available when asked to see why a 17 twelvemonth old, with no anterior history of force and no condemnable record, would perpetrate a slaying such as this. All the grounds of substance maltreatment and physical and mental maltreatment was ne’er presented by the defence lawyer. If it was, Chris may non hold had to confront such a rough sentence.
Simmons systematically appealed his instance merely to hold the decease punishment upheld. Chris decided to register for a new request for station strong belief alleviation. The Missouri Supreme Court said “ a national consensus has developed against the executing of juvenile wrongdoers ” and hence was sentenced to life in prison without word. The province of Missouri appealed the determination to the Supreme Court. When the instance was heard in the Supreme Court in 2004, they held that the decease punishment to anyone under the age of 18 would be considered barbarous and unusual penalty and therefore violates the Eighth Amendment.
Chris has changed since he has been in prison. He is known to be “ exemplary captive ” and he has become portion of a spiritual group in prison. He has besides taken portion in bar plans for teens in order to maintain them from offenses. In Chris ‘s ain words he says: “ I am decidedly regretful for all of the agony I ‘ve caused people particularly the victims, I merely wish there was a manner to do things right. I wish I could allow people cognize how genuinely I ‘ve had to cover with it for the eight old ages I ‘ve been in prison and had to look in the mirror everyday… I want to go on to assist troubled teens, as I one time was, and I soon get the chance to in a Youth Enlightenment Program that we have here at this prison. I came to decease row a messed up, drug addicted, 17-year-old blowout that grew up here in the worst of prison worlds. I ‘ve had to wake up every twenty-four hours confronting the hurting and agony I ‘ve caused others. ”
In decision, the instance of Christopher Simmons has many different bends. It seems to be an unjust narrative get downing with his apprehension. His due procedure rights were violated and so he incriminated himself. That led to a tribunal instance that was n’t handled right by the defence. A defence attorney led to Chris ‘s sentence on decease row. Thankfully, his sentence was overturned and he was sentenced to life in prison due to Supreme Court Case, Roper v. Simmons, where the sentence of a juvenile to decease was considered unconstitutional. However Christopher Simmons instance should of been appealed, re-tried with a better attorney and acquire a more indulgent sentence to get down with. Because of his maltreatment and background, he could hold gotten aid from psychologists and hopefully released from prison to be a functional member of society alternatively of a functional member of prison.