U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case Regarding Life Sentences for Juveniles

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about whether a juvenile who committed murder and received a life without parole sentence should have the sentence reconsidered. In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v Alabama that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles who committed first degree murder was unconstitutional. The issue in the case heard this week (Montgomery v Louisiana) is whether Miller should apply retroactively to crimes that were committed long ago by juvenile offenders.

The plaintiff in the case, Henry Montgomery, killed a police officer in 1963 when he was 17.  If the court rules in his favor, 69 year old Montgomery would be given a new sentencing hearing to show why he should be allowed a chance at freedom.

The court’s ruling could affect about 2,000 similarly situated inmates in several states, including about 80 in Missouri.  A ruling in the case is expected by next spring.

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