Lawyers for two prisoners sentenced to life in prison for murders committed when they were age 14 are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept their cases and strike down their sentences as unconstitutional.
The lawyers want the Supreme Court to extend its Graham v. Florida decision that held unconstitutional life sentences for juveniles who were convicted of crimes other than murder, the New York Times reports. The lawyers say life sentences without parole should be banned for all offenders who were 13 and 14 when they committed their crimes. VIA
This is a big deal since it will force us to determine what to do with juvenile offenders when we can’t just lock them away forever. Perhaps returning to the original purpose of juvenile courts over 100 years ago, which was to provide rehabilitation and guidance will be part of the solution. Putting them in prison for life is cruel and unusual punishment based on lack of cognitive development, maturity and/or deficiencies (which leans to culpably). Once a process is in place for juveniles, maybe it will be one that can extend and be adjusted for adults as well…years down the road.