« California takes steps to get executions going again | Main | What might (and should) DOJ and other potential amici say about Graham and Sullivan? »

May 4, 2009

The (unpreserved?) procedural issues in Graham juve LWOP case

Thanks to SCOTUSblog's post here, everyone can now check out this cert petition in Graham v. Florida, the juve LWOP case that the Supreme Court decided to take up today (basics here).  Assuming the fact statement in the Grahampetition is accurate, the sentencing procedures used in the case are as troubling as is the substance of the LWOP sentence. 

According to the cert petition, the defendant in Grahamwas given an LWOP sentence by a judge as a sentence for violating the terms of his probation(!) by committing an armed robbery a year after being placed on probation for a prior armed burglary.  As described, the procedures used to impose the LWOP sentence in Graham would seem to raise an array of possible Fifth and Sixth Amendment issues.  But the Graham cert petition only raises an Eighth Amendment claim (and other procedural claims may not have even been raised below), and thus it is unclear whether or how these procedural issues will be addressed as this case gets considered by the Justices.

Some recent related posts:

May 4, 2009 at 01:09 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The (unpreserved?) procedural issues in Graham juve LWOP case:


scotusblog also notes they were not combined. any thoughts on the reason for arguing separately if both are based on the 8th?

Posted by: . | May 4, 2009 1:38:53 PM

Sigh, the cert petition is not formatted for text to speech. There are times I hate people who don't understand the tools they are using.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 4, 2009 1:41:13 PM

Relatedly, fyi, A bill that passed the Texas Senate to legislatively eliminate LWOP in capital murder cases will be heard in a House committee on Wednesday and has a good chance of becoming law.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | May 4, 2009 3:03:40 PM

Yes, even if the sentence is technically imposed for the underlying crime which was indicted and found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, clearly the later, probation-violating conduct was, in practice, necessary to the Court's decision to authorize the LWOP sentence. (In fact, *once probation was imposed*, it seems that a finding of probation violation would be not only practically necessary, but technically necessary to authorize LWOP.) Yet that later alleged conduct was found only by a preponderance, and by a judge, not a jury.

Posted by: Anon | May 4, 2009 6:58:55 PM

LWOP is cruel and unusual! So is Derek\'s story of 40 yrs. for consenual statutory rape! http://www.derekoftexas.blogspot.com/ this teen doing 10 years in Adult prison for swiping a six pack of beer! www.adambollenback.com/ Get real, Do unto OPC\'s (Other people\'s children), as you would expect done for your own child. Our Juvenile centers would be empty and there would be NO minors in any Adult prisons, I'd bet MY LIFE on that! Somebody MUST stop this madness! There has to be a line drawn between a penalty and TORTURE. How in heck can anyone name this system, JUVENILE JUSTICE? Shame on the US!

Posted by: Honest Opinion | May 6, 2009 7:38:27 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB