Law & Dis/Order

Weissman Center for Leadership
and the Liberal Arts

Fall 2005

'Kansas Charley' to Simmons v. Roper: Rethinking The Juvenile Death Penalty in America

The death penalty has a long and controversial history. Even more compelling, perhaps, is the fact that in the United States, children have been subjected to that penalty for over three hundred years.

In March 2005, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5 – 4 decision, ruled, in part, that such verdicts against individuals under the age of 18 constituted “cruel and inhuman punishment.” This ruling, generated in response to the case of Simmons v. Roper, has significant implications on the status of current juvenile offenders. It also impacts the current treatment of incarcerated minors, raises new questions about the rights of victims, and calls attention to those who now are adults on death row for crimes committed when they were youths.

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, a prizewinning historian and author of Fasting Girls and The Body Project, will consider the juvenile death penalty in historical perspective. Central to her talk will be the riveting case of Kansas Charley, an orphaned 17-year old boy executed by hanging in Wyoming in 1892.

body outline in chalk

Event Details

Date: Thursday, October 20

Time: 7:00 PM

Speaker: Joan Jacobs Brumberg

Place: Gamble Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College

Admission:Free and open to the public.


To Gamble Auditorium

Mount Holyoke College campus map