Friday, June 4, 2010

Juveniles sentenced to life without parole

Juveniles sentenced to life without parole
On May 17, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a sentence of life without parole for a juvenile offender, who has not committed a homicide, violates the Eight Amendments Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. This is a big change for individuals under 18 who currently have been locked up for life. The case before the Supreme Court involved a young man who committed an armed burglary and attempted armed robbery shortly before his 18th birthday. The trial court noted he had received probation for an earlier armed burglary, and violated his probation by committing the current crimes. The court sentenced the young man, who was now 19 years old, to life for the armed burglary, and 15 years for the attempted armed robbery. The State of Florida, however, where he had committed the crimes, had abolished its parole system, leaving him with a sentence of life without parole. Based on the fact of this case, and the court's ruling, anyone, even someone a day under 18, who commits a crime short of murder, can not be locked away for the rest of his life. 
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