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November 1, 2009

Noting the juve LWOP cases before SCOTUS across the pond

Thanks to How Appealing, I saw this new piece in The Times of London about the Graham and Sullivan cases to be heard by the Supreme Court nxt week. Here are snippets:

The Supreme Court’s rare decision to consider separate cases on the same issue reflects a slow and, many believe, long overdue reassessment of the uniquely American judicial policy of locking up teenagers and throwing away the key.

Joe Harris Sullivan was 13 when a Pensacola judge sentenced him to life without parole for raping a 72-year-old woman. The judge described Sullivan as “beyond help” and declared that he would “send him away for as long as I can”. He has already spent 20 years in jail.

Terrance Graham was 16 when he was arrested for armed burglary while on probation for a previous robbery.

At the time Florida was cracking down on repeat offenders and in 2005 a different judge declared Graham “incorrigible” and imposed the maximum sentence. More than 100 cases have been under the microscope since the Supreme Court ruled, after bitter internal debate in 2005, that juveniles should not be executed for murder.

Numerous legal and medical associations are supporting Sullivan and Graham on the grounds that the courts should not judge teenagers in the same way as they judge adults, just as governments recognise the difference by placing certain restrictions on juvenile drinking, voting and marrying....

The Supreme Court may decide that 13 is too young for a maximum sentence, but that 17 is not. For Sullivan and Graham, the ruling will in effect decide whether they die in jail.

November 1, 2009 at 08:15 PM | Permalink

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Comments

"Terrance Graham was 16 when he was arrested for armed burglary while on probation for a previous robbery."

False. He was a month short of his 18th birthday. See Brief of Respondent, p. 7.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Nov 2, 2009 3:55:55 PM

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