Argued that Petitioner's sentence is the equivalent of life without parole because Missouri law requires him to serve a minimum of 92 years before becoming parole-eligible. This sentence therefore violates the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Graham v. Florida, which held that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life for non-homicide offenses without a meaningful and realistic opportunity for re-entry into society prior to the expiration of their sentence.
Juvenile Law Center’s brief argues that the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole imposed on a 16-year-old is a disproportionate punishment under the U.S. and Massachusetts Constitutions.
Argued that Pennsylvania’s mandatory sentencing scheme, which requires any juvenile convicted of first or second degree murder to be sentenced to life without parole, is unconstitutional pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v. Alabama.
Juvenile Law Center was co-counsel in Montgomery v. Louisiana, a case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that Miller v. Alabama (2012) applies retroactively to individuals serving mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences.
These briefs involved a thirteen-year-old student who was questioned by four adults, including a uniformed police officer, on school grounds regarding a series of break-ins. Juvenile Law Center argued that the student should have been considered in custody for Miranda purposes.
Supreme Court held the execution of juveniles unconstitutional. Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued the developmental differences between adolescents and adults in critical areas, including impulse control and understanding consequences.
One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before.