US Supreme Court Strikes Mandatory Life Terms For Juveniles

US Supreme Court Strikes Mandatory Life Terms For Juveniles

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gavelThe United States Supreme Court ruled that an Alabama law that gave juveniles convicted of murder mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole was unconstitutional.

To slap juveniles with a mandatory sentence, which does not allow a judge to take into consideration the circumstances of a murder — such as lack of intent to kill — violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

One of the cases brought before the court was that of a 14-year-old who was convicted of being an accomplice in an Arkansas robbery that ended in murder.

The newest justice on the court, Elena Kagan said that “a judge or jury must have the opportunity to consider mitigating circumstances before imposing the harshest possible penalty for juveniles.”

(READ the story at NPR News)

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