Juvenile Life Without Parole
A recent ground-breaking decision by the Supreme Court of the United States made it illegal to sentence juveniles to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The case of Graham v. Florida originated in Jacksonville, Florida. Graham, a repeat offender, was arrested at age 16 for home invasion robbery and the judge sentenced him to life in prison. Graham appealed, and the final Supreme Court decision makes it unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of some realistic opportunity for release by the end of that term. Graham was later resentenced and his sentence was reduced to 25 years in prison.
In 2012, the Supreme Court heard arguments concerning the constitutionality of mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders in cases including murder. In Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Even though these rulings are recent, they may be applied retroactively. There are several thousand juveniles currently serving life sentences in the United States. These children don’t need to be sitting in jail for the rest of their lives. Many juveniles have successfully filed motions to have their sentences reduced or even thrown out. A good appellate attorney needs review these cases to determine if a legal basis exists to file a post-conviction relief motion. The attorneys at Dale Carson Law have been very successful in handling juvenile appeals and getting judgment and sentences overturned. Some motions are time barred, so it’s important to have an attorney look into the case as soon as possible.