June 25, 2012
Today, Monday, June 25, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder. This decision came because of the cases of Evan Miller in Alabama and Kuntrell Jackson in Arkansas. Both were fourteen years old at the time of conviction and both had a conviction involving murders.
The majority cited the eighth amendment, “cruel and unusual punishment,” as the law being violated by juvenile death sentencing. It was also cited by Justices Sotomayor and Breyer that in previous cases, courts have shown special consideration for juveniles because of their “lack of maturity,” among other things.
In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Roberts also cited the eighth amendment, saying that the court is using the amendment to ban the death penalty which is not recognized as cruel and unusual.
However, the majority was in favor of the juveniles, putting the court system a little bit closer to re-examining the death penalty as a whole.
More information can be found in articles on the following sites:
NPR's News Blog
The Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post