PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/172/99
25 October 1999
Further information on EXTRA 106/99 (AMR 51/126/99, 10 August 1999) and
follow-up (AMR 51/140/99, 1 September 1999) - Death penalty / Legal concern
USA (Delaware)Justin L. Burrell, aged 19
On 22 October 1999, a Kent County Superior Court judge handed down a sentence
of life without parole against Justin Burrell for the reckless first-degree
murder of Dolly Ann Fenwick on 19 May 1998. In so doing, the judge was following
the unanimous recommendation by the trial jury on 31 August 1999 that the
teenager not be sentenced to death (see previous update).
The prosecutor, who had sought the death penalty, was quoted as saying that
he was satisfied with the sentence: “Life without the possibility of parole
is a very significant sentence for a 19-year-old kid”.
Given that the crime occurred when Justin Burrell was 17, his sentence violates
Article 37(a) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states
that “neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility
of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen
years of age.” The USA is one of only two countries not to have ratified the
Convention. The other is the collapsed state of Somalia.
No further action by the UA Network is requested at present. Many thanks to
all who sent appeals.