De Facto Life Without Parole Cases
Although not a JLWOP sentence, juveniles in the United States have been subject to extremely long sentences. Some of these sentences are for such long durations or terms, they amount to a life sentence without the possibility of release.
These sentences contravene the United States’ treaty obligations, and the United States Supreme Court mandates under both Graham and Miller. While Graham said that juveniles who committed non-homicide offenses must be afforded an opportunity for release, an extremely long term of years
sentence does not afford that opportunity. In Miller the Supreme Court noted that mitigating factors, including the age of the offender, must be considered, thereby erasing mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders. These same considerations should be granted when stacking mandatory term-of-years sentences for juvenile offenders.
The Supreme Court of California ruled that a sentence of 110 years for a non-homicide crime was unconstitutional under Graham’s mandates against cruel and unusual punishment in People v. Caballero.
Read the California Supreme Court opinion here.
Read our amicus brief here.
The Supreme Court of Florida has granted cert to determine if a sentence of 70 years handed down to a 14 year old boy is de facto life without parole and is prohibited under Graham v. Florida in the case of Gridine v. Florida.
Read the opinion granting cert here.