Miller V. Alabama

1440 words 6 pages
Miller v. Alabama

Miller v. Alabama
The United States Supreme Court consists of eight associate justices and one chief justice who are petitioned more than 5,000 times a year to hear various cases (Before the Court in Miller V. Alabama, 2012). At its discretion, the Supreme Court selects which cases they choose to review. Some of the selected cases began in the state court system and others began in the federal court system. On June 25, 2012 the justices of the Supreme Court weighed in on the constitutionality of life without parole for juvenile offenders. The case was Miller v. Alabama and actually included another case, Jackson v Hobbs, as well (2012). Both were criminal cases involving 14 year old boys who were
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Troup. Because Jackson knowingly participated in the offense, he was found criminally liable for such conduct (Supreme Court Rejects Mandatory Life Sentences Without Possibility of Parole for Juveniles, 2012).

Appeal to the Supreme Court
Miller’s case was transferred from the Juvenile Court of Lawrence County to the Lawrence Circuit Court for prosecution as an adult (Miller v. Alabama, 2012). Miller argued his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the capital offense of murder during arson is disproportionate and thus violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Miller v. Alabama, 2012). Jackson’s lawyers argued that juveniles are in a "unique stage of development that makes them peculiarly susceptible to physical and psychological pressures toward risk-taking, and they are not yet adequately equipped with the capacity for mature behavioral controls" (De Vogue, 2012, p.1) In 2005, the Supreme Court held 14-yearolds were categorically prohibited from being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for capital murder because they are less culpable than adults and in 2010 the Supreme Court banned life without parole for youths convicted of crimes other than murder; therefore, Miller argued the State may not, in accordance with the Eighth Amendment and the Supreme Court, sentence 14 years old to life in prison without the possibility of parole (Supreme Court Rejects Mandatory Life Sentences


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