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Monday, June 25, 2012

U. S. SUPREME COURT HOLDS "The Eighth Amendment Forbids A Sentencing Scheme That Mandates Life In Prison Without Possibility Of Parole For Juvenile Homicide Offenders."

THE CASE IS MILLER V. ALABAMA, AND YOU CAN READ THE COURT'S OPINION HERE.

EDITOR'S NOTE: THE GIST OF THE COURT'S OPINION CAN BE READ BELOW:

"In each of these cases, a 14-year-old was convicted of murder and sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In No. 10−9647, petitioner Jackson accompanied twoother boys to a video store to commit a robbery; on the way to the store, he learned that one of the boys was carrying a shotgun. Jackson stayed outside the store for most of the robbery, but after he entered, one of his co-conspirators shot and killed the store clerk. Arkansas charged Jackson as an adult with capital felony murder and aggravated robbery, and a jury convicted him of both crimes. The trial court imposed a statutorily mandated sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Jackson filed a state habeas petition, arguing that a mandatory life-without-parole term for a 14year-old violates the Eighth Amendment. Disagreeing, the court granted the State’s motion to dismiss. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed. In No. 10−9646, petitioner Miller, along with a friend, beat Miller’s neighbor and set fire to his trailer after an evening of drinking anddrug use. The neighbor died. Miller was initially charged as a juvenile, but his case was removed to adult court, where he was charged with murder in the course of arson. A jury found Miller guilty, andthe trial court imposed a statutorily mandated punishment of lifewithout parole. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed,holding that Miller’s sentence was not overly harsh when compared to his crime, and that its mandatory nature was permissible under the Eighth Amendment.
Held: The Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. Pp. 6−27.
——————
Held: The Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison
without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. Pp. 6−27."


EDITOR'S COMMENT: NOTICE THE COURT ONLY HELD THE STATUTE CANNOT MANDATE THE PUNISHMENT. SO PRESUMABLY, JUDGES AN JURIES CAN STILL IMPOSE IT!

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