Supreme Court: Life sentences for juveniles restricted in non-murder cases
05/17/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley
Washington D.C.—A recent ruling has determined that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole for crimes other than murder. The Supreme Court made the ruling with a 6-3 vote on May 17, 2010, stating that life imprisonment without parole violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, as reported by Reuters.
Chief Justice John Roberts stated that he does not believe the ruling should extend to other young offenders who were committed of crimes other than murder.
The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Terrance Graham, who was sent to prison for robberies he committed when he was 16 and 17-years-old. Graham was sentenced to life in prison as a result of his crimes. Graham is now 22-years-old and imprisoned in Florida.
Attorneys representing Graham argues that his sentence “unfairly condemned adolescents to die in prison without the possibility that they could change or be rehabilitated.”
According to the Amnesty International and other human rights groups, “The United States is the only country in the world that still sentences juveniles to life in prison without possibility of parole.”
Within the United States there is an estimated 111 defendants who have been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for crimes other than murder when they were under the age of 28. Florida accounts for 70 percent of the imprisoned inmates.
Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for government attorneys.