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June 5, 2013

In lengthy split opinion, Minnesota Supreme Court concludes Miller should not apply retroactively

With thanks to the reader who made sure I did not miss the ruling from late last week, I can report on another state Supreme Court deciding whether to give the Miller's decision prohibition on the mandatory LWOP sentencing of juvenile murderers retroactive effect.  Specifically, in a lengthy split opinion in Chambers v. Minnesota, No. A11-1954 (Minn. May 31, 2013) (available here), a majority of the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that "the rule announced in Miller v. Alabama, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), is a new rule of criminal constitutional procedure that is neither substantive nor a watershed rule implicating the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding."

A little concurrence by one of the state Justices expressed hope that "perhaps a clearer explanation of retroactivity doctrine by the United States Supreme Court" might come down in the future.

And the lead dissent gets off to a scientific start via this notable quote by Danish physicist Niels Bohr: "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."

June 5, 2013 at 05:03 PM | Permalink

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