Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court: No mandatory life sentence for Juveniles

NYTimes 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.  

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 was 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.”

No comments :

Post a Comment

please use either your real name or a pseudonym.