Missouri inmate Christopher Simmons no longer is under a death sentence. The State Supreme Court has lifted Simmons’ death sentence and sentenced him to life in prison. The Court has ruled that since Simmons was 17 when he killed Shirley Crook in 1993, executing him would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The Court made the ruling even though it acknowledges the US Supreme Court upheld the right of states to execute those who commit murder as juveniles. In its opinion handed down this afternoon, the State Supreme Court says it is not bound by that decision reached 14 years ago, because the determination of what is cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment must be interpreted in a flexible and dynamic manner. Simmons had been scheduled for execution in May of 2002. The State Supreme Court at that time pushed the execution back to June, then postponed it again.
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