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  [Supreme Court:] Eighth Amendment prohibits mandatory life without parole for juveniles
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ContributorBrandonius Maximus 
Last EditedBrandonius Maximus  Jun 25, 2012 11:22am
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CategoryLegal Ruling
AuthorTejinder Singh
News DateMonday, June 25, 2012 05:20:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionJustice Kagan announced the opinion for the Court in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, holding, in a five-to-four vote, that “the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders.” The Court has previously shown leniency to juveniles, holding in Roper v. Simmons (2005), that juveniles cannot be sentenced to death, and in Graham v. Florida (2010), that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole for non-homicide offenses. This case continues that trend.

Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson were each convicted of capital murder. At the time of the relevant offenses, they were fourteen years old. Neither committed his offense alone. In Miller’s case, he and another boy beat and robbed a neighbor, who died after they lit his house on fire; in Jackson’s case, he and two others robbed a video store, and one of the others shot and killed the store clerk. Both were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole, under sentencing regimes (in Alabama and Arkansas) that render such sentences mandatory, without consideration of the offender’s age or mitigating circumstances. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, which represented both Miller and Jackson before the Court, there presently are approximately seventy-nine individuals currently serving life-without-parole sentences for crimes they committed at age thirteen or fourteen. The Court further explains that approximately 2500 people are serving life without parole for crimes they committed before they were eighteen.
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