WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 2, 2005 ( The U.S. bishops' conference praised the Supreme Court decision halting the death penalty for juveniles.

The conference, which for 25 years has been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty, "is very encouraged that the United States Supreme Court has recognized that executing juvenile offenders is indeed cruel and unusual," said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

Bishop DiMarzio, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Policy, commented on Tuesday's court decision that the U.S. Constitution forbids the execution of offenders who were under age 18 when they committed their crimes.

"This ruling affirms the position held by a broad cross section of religious denominations, child advocacy groups, and legal and medical organizations," Bishop DiMarzio said.

"While we continue to work to oppose any use of the death penalty for what it does to human life and how it diminishes our society," he added, "we are pleased that the Supreme Court has confirmed that standards of decency have evolved and that the U.S. has joined the rest of the world in outlawing the executions of those who commit capital crimes as juveniles."


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