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COURT ALLOWS DEATH PENALTY FOR JUVENILES

States may impose the death penalty for murderers who committed their crimes while age 16 and 17, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. Separately, it ruled that the Constitution does not categorically prohibit the execution of murderers diagnosed as mentally retarded. But the court said sentencing juries and judges must be allowed to consider a murder defendant's mental retardation.

Voting 5 to 4 the court said the death penalty for older juvenile killers does not violate the Constitution's ban on ``cruel and unusual punishment.''

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