Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Courts - "Courts Split Over Ruling on Juvenile Life Sentences "
How Appealing links here to the long WSJ story by Ashby Jones. the subhead is "Confusion on 2012 Decision Creates a Legal Limbo for Inmates, Their Lawyers." A few quotes from the story:
Jeffrey Ragland, sentenced to life without parole in 1986 for his involvement in the killing of a fellow teen with a tire-iron blow to the head, could soon be a free man.An accompanying map shows "State's laws on life-without-parole sentences for juveniles committing serious crimes at the time of last year's Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama." Among midwestern states, Indiana and Kentucky are listed as "none"; Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota are listed as "mandatory"; Wisconsin is listed as "discretionary".
That outcome is the result of a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court last month that found the sentence handed down to Mr. Ragland, now 44 years old, unconstitutional. The court concluded that a June 2012 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles should be applied retroactively, rather than only to future cases.
Other high-level courts, including the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, have ruled otherwise, finding the Supreme Court's ruling in Miller v. Alabama shouldn't reach backward in time. Inmates challenging their sentences in those cases had their appeals denied.
This schism over the Miller ruling has helped sow deep confusion among inmates, their lawyers, lawmakers and sentencing-policy advocates. More than a year after the high court ruling, many of the approximately 2,100 people sentenced as juveniles to mandatory life-without-parole sentences before June 2012 are being held in a sort of legal limbo—with few answers in sight.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2013 08:54 AM
Posted to Courts in general