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May 17, 2010

Recapping my coverage of today's significant SCOTUS action

Since I have done a lot of posts (too many?) on today's significant sentencing rulings by the Supreme Court, I thought it might be useful in this final post of the day to recap my coverage via these links:

On the Graham juve LWOP Eighth Amendment ruling:

On the Comstock federal sex offender civil commitment ruling:

May 17, 2010 at 07:14 PM | Permalink


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Not a lawyer; not even in the law profession. Just my 2 cents and a question after reading Graham.

Call me crazy, but the opinion says States cannot sentence juveniles to LWOP but also that they need not guarantee eventual release (realistic opportunity to obtain release before the individual’s life ends). It continues a State should not determine a juvenile not to be eligible for release at a case's onset but also that a State not be mandated to release a juvenile during his natural life.

That said, would legislatures just pass laws converting LWOP to a minimum term of 25 to 40 years with a requirement, for States without a parole system, to petition for executive clemency annually past 25 years?

I mean, since it looks like the majority passed on CJ Robert's case-by-case opinion, there are a lot of ways the States can go to keep juveniles in prison for long periods of time and not violate the spirit and interpretation of the majority opinion.

Posted by: ihate2fly | May 17, 2010 9:21:57 PM

I have a question, what about in federal cases? What about a minor in a federal case looking toward a life without parole? Now what? There is no parole in the federal system, so how are juveniles going to get out of that? Judges are going to hand in non-life sentences?

Will this affect the sentencing guides also? It says "Age does matter", which the current guidelines said isn't really relevent, (yes I know the new guidelines are coming out changing it) but for the current guidelines, will this change anything?

Posted by: N/A | May 17, 2010 11:19:25 PM

N/A-- FIrst off, there are very few juveniles prosecuted federally. I think most are Indians prosecuted for crimes in Indian country. Moreover, it's fairly hard to get an actual life sentence in the federal system for any first offense, outside of something like a murder for hire or assassinating a judge (definitely don't assassinate a judge for hire).

Posted by: Jay | May 18, 2010 2:27:03 AM

Posted by: Jay | May 18, 2010 2:27:03 AM

That being said there are apparently ten federal inmates in that situation, which holds in Florida too, for what it's worth.

By the time resolving those questions actually becomes a question that needs an answer I suspect that the Court composition will be radically different.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 18, 2010 10:14:14 AM

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