Supreme Court Rules Against Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole
In addition to the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona immigration Monday, the court also decided that juveniles should no longer be given life sentences without parole.
USA Today reported:
Forcing judges and juries to give life without parole, regardless of mitigating circumstances, violates Supreme Court rulings requiring "individualized sentencing for defendants facing the most serious penalties," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority.
"We therefore hold 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,'" she wrote.
"Even a 17 ½ year-old who sets off a bomb in crowded mall or guns down a dozen students and teachers is a 'child' and must be given a chance to persuade a judge to permit his release into society," said Justice Samuel Alito, who read his dissent aloud in the courtroom, according to TIME. "Nothing in the Constitution supports this arrogation of legislative authority."
The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling involved the cases of two 14-year-olds convicted of separate robberies in Alabama and Arkansas, the Supreme. However, the ruling did not take away life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of murder.
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