Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles Violates Eighth Amendment

In the recent case of Miller v. Alabama, No. 10-9646, the United States Supreme Court held that “mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishments’” and that “a judge or jury must have the opportunity to consider mitigating circumstances before imposing the harshest possible penalty for juveniles.”  The Court reversed the decisions of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and remanded the cases for further proceedings.  The recent opinion cites to several of the Court’s prior decisions involving Eighth Amendment issues that arose from criminal cases in Georgia.

The Supreme Court’s full opinion in the case can be read here.


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