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SCOTUS - Juveniles Cannot Receive Mandatory LWOP
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Thread: SCOTUS - Juveniles Cannot Receive Mandatory LWOP

  1. #1
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    SCOTUS - Juveniles Cannot Receive Mandatory LWOP

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says it's unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole for murder.

    The high court on Monday threw out Americans' ability to send children to prison for the rest of their lives with no chance of ever getting out.

    The 5-4 decision is in line with others the court has made, including ruling out the death penalty for juveniles and life without parole for young people whose crimes did not involve killing.

    The decision came in the robbery and murder cases of Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson, who were 14 when they were convicted. Miller was convicted of killing a man in Alabama.

    Jackson was convicted of being an accomplice in an Arkansas robbery that ended in murder.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/25/458...ut-parole.html

    Full decision .pdf

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions...0-9646g2i8.pdf

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    Case information. They are going to be resentenced, does anybody want to figure out when they *might* be eligible for release?

    KUNTRELL JACKSON, now 26
    Crime: Nov. 18, 1999; Blytheville, Ark.

    Details: Jackson was sentenced to life in prison after the shooting death of video store clerk Laurie Troup. He and two older youths were attempting to rob the story when another teen shot Troup in the face with a sawed-off shotgun when she did not turn over money. The teens fled and were not arrested for 16 months. Because Jackson participated in the robbery, he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated robbery. The scenario, in which a juvenile lifer did not do the actual killing, is one area the Supreme Court will explore.


    EVAN MILLER, now 23
    Crime: July 15, 2003; Lawrence County, Alabama

    Details: Miller was convicted of capital murder during the course of an arson. A 52-year-old neighbor, Cole Cannon, was doing drugs and drinking with Miller and his 16-year-old friend, who admitted they planned to steal Cannons wallet. They say an altercation began when Cannon grabbed Millers throat. Miller and his friend beat Cannon and set fire to his mobile home. He died of smoke inhalation. That scenario, in which a juvenile lifer was convicted of the actual killing, is meant to test whether life without parole is ever appropriate for minors.

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    WASHINGTON -- Life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, according to a 5-4 opinion this morning from the U.S. Supreme Court that involved a 14-year-old convicted of murder in Alabama.

    Evan Miller was convicted of arson and murder in Lawrence County, but his life without any possibility of parole sentence violates the Constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment, according to the justices.

    The opinion was written by Justice Elana Kagan.

    The ruling, which also includes a case from Arkansas, is another in a line of decisions that don't allow the criminal justice system to give up hope that the youngest criminals can be rehabilitated.

    "By requiring that all children convicted of homicide receive lifetime incarceration without possibility of parole, regard- less of their age and age-related characteristics and the nature of their crimes, the mandatory sentencing schemes before us violate this principle of proportionality, and so the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment," according to the opinion that was just released this morning.

    The four justices that dissented include Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia.

    http://blog.al.com/sweethome/2012/06...le_wins_b.html

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    Administrator Jan's Avatar
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    And another vote...

    Since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, Kennedy has often been the "swing vote" on many of the Court's 54 decisions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Kennedy

  5. #5
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    It's just a matter of time before LWOP is found unconstitutional for adults as well.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    These are feral children. They have committed many heinous crimes, it is scary to know that many of them might soon be released, of course with proper supervision and "treatment".

    More than two-thirds of juvenile lifers nationally - 1,727 out of 2,496 - are in five states with mandatory sentences. In addition to Michigan, they are Pennsylvania (475), Florida (355), California (301) and Louisiana (238), according to the ACLU of Michigan and Second Chances 4 Youth.

    Defense lawyers are now likely to petition for “mitigation” hearings for each inmate. Such hearings are better known in death penalty states. They can take into consideration a range of mitigating factors in developing new sentences - abuse, age, whether they were an accomplice.

    Judges or juries could preside over the hearings.
    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/...ikes_down.html

    Maybe some of the strong Anti DP folks who also feel that LWOP is wrong, would be willing to mentor these "youths". You know, take them in and incorporate them into their families.

  7. #7
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Feral children. I might go into the trapping business.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Banned TheKindExecutioner's Avatar
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    This a JOKE!

    Now those under 18 can kill as many people as they want and can't get the DP or LWOP??

    Insane!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    It's just a matter of time before LWOP is found unconstitutional for adults as well.
    I am new to this site so perhaps I need a bit of an education.

    How can something be "cruel & unusual" for a child while it isn't for an adult?

    What is so "cruel & unusual" about segregating a sociopath (no matter what the age) from the rest of society for everyones' protection? I don't beleive this is a mental disorder that can be "cured". Does anyone have evidence otherwise?

  10. #10
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    Justices Bar Mandatory Life Terms for Juveniles

    By ETHAN BRONNER
    The New York Times

    The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that states may not impose mandatory life sentences without parole on juveniles, even if they have been convicted of taking part in a murder.

    The justices ruled in a 5-to-4 decision that such sentencing for those under 18 violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling left open the possibility of judges’ sentencing juveniles to life imprisonment without parole in individual circumstances but said state laws could not automatically impose such sentences.

    “Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile precludes consideration of his chronological age and its hallmark features — among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority. “It prevents taking into account the family and home environment that surrounds him — and from which he cannot usually extricate himself — no matter how brutal or dysfunctional.”

    Justice Kagan’s opinion argued that the two cases at issue, involving 14-year-old boys who had taken part in murders in Arkansas and Alabama, were an extension of the court’s recent rulings on the young, which asserted that they still had unformed emotional and moral structures and that treating them as adults violated “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

    One such recent decision declared it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison who were involved in crimes that did not include killing, and others barred the death penalty from being imposed on teenagers and the mentally retarded.

    Justice Kagan was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

    Nearly 2,500 juvenile offenders are serving life sentences without parole in the United States. Human rights groups say there are almost no other countries that put teenagers in prison and keep them there to die without the possibility of parole.

    That number was at the core of an angry dissent written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who asserted that if something is common it could not, by definition, be “cruel and unusual.” He wrote: “Put simply, if a 17-year-old is convicted of deliberately murdering an innocent victim, it is not ‘unusual’ for the murderer to receive a mandatory sentence of life without parole. That reality should preclude finding that mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile killers violated the Eighth Amendment.”

    He added, in a dissent joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., that the court’s notion of evolving decency was flawed and was based not on history but on the views of the five justices who signed the opinion.

    “As judges, we have no basis for deciding that progress toward greater decency can move only in the direction of easing sanctions on the guilty,” he said.

    Justice Alito, who wrote a separate and angrier dissent accusing the court of usurping legislative authority, took the relatively unusual step on Monday of reading parts of his dissent from the bench.

    Monday’s ruling involved two cases, Jackson v. Hobbs, No. 10-9647, and Miller v. Alabama, No. 10-9646.

    In the first, Kuntrell Jackson of Arkansas was 14 when he and two older youths tried to rob a video store in 1999. One of the other youths shot and killed a store clerk, and it was unclear from the case whether Mr. Jackson was in favor of his doing so.

    Arkansas law gives prosecutors discretion to charge 14-year-olds as adults in certain circumstances, and the prosecutor in this case did so. Mr. Jackson was sentenced to life without parole.

    In the Alabama case, Evan Miller, also 14 at the time, had been in and out of foster care because his mother suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction and his stepfather abused him. Mr. Miller regularly used drugs and alcohol and had tried to commit suicide four times. One night in 2003, he and another youth beat a 52-year-old neighbor and set fire to his house after the three had smoked marijuana and drunk together. The neighbor died of smoke inhalation. Mr. Miller was also tried as an adult and was given life imprisonment without parole.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/us...s.html?_r=1&hp

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