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October 28, 2012

Nebraska working on various "Miller fix" sentencing proposals

The local story from Nebraska, headlined "Changes likely for sentencing of juvenile murderers," discusses the developing work of the state's (unicameral) legislature in response to the Supreme Court's Eighth Amendment Miller ruling earlier this year. Here are the details:

Nebraska lawmakers likely will be forced by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to change how Nebraska sentences people convicted of committing murder while they are juveniles. Meanwhile, defense lawyers will argue the issue before the Nebraska Supreme Court next month. "We've already got some language drafted" for a propoed bill, said Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford, chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee.

The court ruled in the cases from Arkansas and Alabama of two 14-year-old boys who were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole.  Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the majority opinion that mandatory life without parole for those younger than 18 when they committed their crime violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments....

The Nebraska Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 6 in a Douglas County case involving Eric A. Ramirez, who was sentenced to two terms of life in prison without parole for his part in a 2008 robbery spree that left two people dead.  Ramirez, then 17, was the shooter.  After the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Nebraska high court ordered additional briefs in his appeal.

The June ruling does not prevent states from imposing life sentences without the possibility of parole for homicide, but it says that a defendant’s age must be considered when passing sentence.  In 2011, state lawmakers passed a bill which removed the words "without parole" from state statutes....

In Nebraska, 26 people convicted of committing murder while juveniles are serving life without the possibility of parole, according to the Nebraska Commission of Public Advocacy.

In 2011, several bills from Omaha Sen. Brenda Council dealing with the issue of sentencing juveniles convicted of murder failed to get enough traction in the Legislature:

* LB251 would have permitted youths convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole to petition for resentencing after 20 years in prison.

* LB202 would have allowed youths sentenced to life without parole to petition for resentencing after 15 years. The bill would have created an intense, three-part review process that would result in the possibility of a lesser sentence for an offender who has matured and proved him or herself to have changed.

* LB203 would have removed life imprisonment as a possible penalty for youths convicted of murder. It would have allowed the court to take into consideration the maturity, age, physical and mental condition of offenders younger than 18. Those 16 to 18 at the time the crime was committed could have been sentenced to 50 years. Those younger than 16 could have been sentenced to 40 years.

October 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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You just got to love the current fucktards we have on the current Supreme Court. Only they would take a case at thier lvl that is suposed to be designed to clean up confusion and render a non-decison that results in a new round of lawsuits in all 50 states.

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