The American Bar Association has adopted a formal resolution regarding the Death Penalty as well as publishing its report in support of the resolution.
The 2018 ABA Resolution on Death Penalty
Here is the full text of the resolution here, drafted by the ABA’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Section:
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association, without taking a position supporting or opposing the death penalty, urges each jurisdiction that imposes capital punishment to prohibit the imposition of a death sentence on or execution of any individual who was 21 years old or younger at the time of the offense.
Notice that the ABA does NOT go so far as to oppose capital punishment. They are not moving to abolish the death penalty here.
Adolescence and Death Penalty
The ABA is urging that young people should be dealt a different hand when it comes to capital punishment, because of their adolescence. From the report:
It is now both appropriate and necessary to address the issue of late adolescence and the death penalty because of the overwhelming legal, scientific, and societal changes of the last three decades. The newly-understood similarities between juvenile and late adolescent brains, as well as the evolution of death penalty law and relevant standards under the Eighth Amendment lead to the clear conclusion that individuals in late adolescence should be exempted from capital punishment.18 Capital defense attorneys are increasingly making this constitutional claim in death penalty litigation and this topic has become part of ongoing juvenile and criminal justice policy reform conversations around the country. As the ABA is a leader in protecting the rights of the vulnerable and ensuring that our justice system is fair, it is therefore incumbent upon this organization to recognize the need for heightened protections for an additional group of individuals: offenders whose crimes occurred while they were 21 years old or younger.
– ABA Report page 3.