Supreme Court Rejects Juvenile Sentencing Limits

The Constitution’s Eighth Amendment was the focus of arguments.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a defendant can be sentenced to life without parole for a homicide committed as a juvenile without a separate finding of permanent incorrigibility.

The 6-3 ruling rejected arguments by a Mississippi man convicted of killing his grandfather at age 15 in a case testing the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The man, now 31, was convicted of stabbing his grandfather in 2004 in a dispute involving the boy’s girlfriend.

The ruling, authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, marked the end of the court’s recent run of decisions that put limits on life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders. Justice Kavanaugh stated it was the responsibility of states, not courts, “to make those broad moral and policy judgments” about juvenile sentencing reform. As long as the state considers the youth of the offender during sentencing, no other analysis is required, the justice wrote.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For wisdom the justices of the Supreme Court as constitutional issues are continually brought before them.
  • For the state courts to be discerning in sentencing juveniles.

Sources: Reuters, SCOTUS blog, ABA Journal


Back to top