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June 26, 2012

Data and resources to gear up for the coming Miller meshugas

Map-bugPerhaps because the Supreme Court's Miller ruling yesterday is already making me a bit meshuge, I was inspired to reach into my small knowledge of Yiddish to come us with the right word, meshugas, to describe that I think we will be seeing in lower courts as they try to give effective to Miller's holding and implications for past, present and future cases.   As I have explained in this post for general purposes, and as Mark Osler has added in this post for Michigan, and as Scott Henson has observed in this post at Grits for Texas, and as Tamar Birckhead has done in this big summary post at JJB, there are a lot of question that are sure to confront and challenge lower courts (and advocates) in the wake of Miller.  Here I want to spotlight point to existing resources to help observers, lower courts and advocates find their way through.

1.  The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth appears at this link to have the most up-to-date and user-friendly resource here for figuring out what states have how many juvenile offenders currently serving LWOP sentences.   And the intro to a helpful national map begins with this introduction: "[T]welve states either forbid JLWOP or presently have no such juvenile offenders that we know of serving that sentence. The states that currently prohibit JLWOP are: Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, and Oregon. The states where there are no people known to be serving JLWOP are: Maine, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and West Virginia. There is also no one known to be serving a JLWOP sentence in the District of Columbia. The federal government does sentence youth to LWOP — there are currently at least 36 people serving JLWOP in federal prison."

2. Human Right Watch’s US Program has lots of reports and data on juve LWOP in the United States, much of which is collected on this webpage.

3.  The University of San Francisco Center for Law and Global Justice has a lot of resources collected via its Project to Juvenile Life Without Parole, including a webpage providing a Resource Guide and Brief Bank and links to Lawyers and Advocacy groups in individual states.

I am sure there are many more good resources now and soon to be developed to help track and assess the coming Miller meshugas.  I urge readers to add links to helpful sites and materials in the comments below and/or to send them my way for updated posting.

June 26, 2012 at 05:55 PM | Permalink


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I had to look that word up.

Thanks for sharing. :-)

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 26, 2012 6:43:01 PM

Thanks for the shout-out, Doug. Here's my latest on Miller, having been inspired by Judge Posner's piece this afternoon in Slate: http://juvenilejusticeblog.web.unc.edu/2012/06/26/more-than-their-gut-and-brain-science/

Posted by: Tamar Birckhead | Jun 26, 2012 7:40:58 PM

Here is a good chart from the NYT, posted in April 2011, showing that 26 states have mandatory LWOP for certain crimes regardless of age. It also breaks down the numbers of juveniles serving LWOP/state (2594 total, under mandatory and discretionary sentencing schemes), indicates how many were 13 or 14 when they committed the offense (71 in total nationally), indicates that 43 federal prisoners are serving JLWOP: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/04/20/us/juveniles.html?ref=us. The source is 2008-10 reports from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty Internat'l, Equal Justice Initiative.

Posted by: Tamar Birckhead | Jun 26, 2012 10:48:34 PM

FWIW, my transliterations woould be mishegas and meshugenah. And while we're at it, best wishes to your mishpocha.

Posted by: anon | Jun 26, 2012 10:54:05 PM

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