United States Supreme Court Rules Miller v. Alabama is Retroactive
Equal Justice Initiative
January 25, 2016

“The United States Supreme Court today decided that states must retroactively apply the ban on mandatory death-in-prison sentences for juveniles.

“In 2012, EJI lawyers argued at the Supreme Court that sentencing kids to life in prison without parole for any offense is cruel and unusual punishment, relying on the Court’s recognition that children are less culpable than adults because of their unique immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability, and capacity for redemption and rehabilitation. On June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court issued an historic ruling in Miller v. Alabama, holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger convicted of homicide are unconstitutional. The Court wrote that requiring sentencers to consider ‘children’s diminished culpability, and heightened capacity for change’ should make such sentences “uncommon.’”

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