The California Supreme Court clarified that a sentence need not exceed life expectancy to deprive a juvenile nonhomicide offender of the requisite meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation, remanding a 50-year and a 58-year sentence for resentencing.
The Missouri Supreme Court has granted relief as to a life-without-parole-for-50-years sentence, explaining that the sentence was “the harshest penalty other than death available under a mandatory sentencing scheme,” and that the jury had no opportunity to consider youth.
The Wyoming Supreme Court has held that there is a presumption against life without parole for juvenile offenders, and that such a sentence may be imposed only if the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a juvenile offender is irreparably corrupt.
A District Court for the Western District of Missouri denied a motion to dismiss a case asserting that Missouri’s parole practices violate the rights of juvenile offenders under the state and federal constitutions, reasoning that the plaintiffs’ allegations, if proven, could permit a finding that the state’s parole practices failed to provide the requisite meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.
A federal district court in Louisiana held that Louisiana’s former “two-step parole procedure” failed to provide a meaningful opportunity for release and, thus, that habeas relief was warranted for a defendant serving a mandatory life sentence under this system.
The Washington Supreme Court applied Miller to an 80-year aggregate sentence, explaining that Miller applies anytime a juvenile offender might be sentenced to die in prison without a meaningful opportunity for early release based on rehabilitation, whether the sentence is for a single crime or an aggregate sentence for multiple crimes.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirmed that Miller applies to discretionary life-without-parole sentences, concluding that there is a presumption against the imposition of juvenile life without parole that may be overcome only if a court determines, based on competent evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt, that a juvenile is “entirely unable to change.”
The Illinois Supreme Court held that a juvenile offender may be sentenced to life without parole only if the trial court determines after consideration of youth that the defendant’s conduct showed irretrievable depravity, permanent incorrigibility, or irreparable corruption.
The Illinois Supreme Court concluded that Miller and Montgomery apply to discretionary life-without-parole sentences, and that a juvenile offender may be sentenced to life without parole only if the trial court determines after consideration of youth that the defendant’s conduct showed irretrievable depravity, permanent incorrigibility, or irreparable corruption.
The Idaho Supreme Court concluded that a discretionary fixed-life sentence violated Miller and Montgomery where the sentencing court heard no evidence of the mitigating factors of youth and made only brief, general reference to the defendant’s age at sentencing.
The Florida Supreme Court held that the application of gain time alone is insufficient to provide a defendant with a meaningful opportunity for early release within his or her natural lifetime.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that there is a presumption against the imposition of JLWOP, and this presumption may be overcome only if a court determines, based on competent evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt, that a juvenile is “entirely unable to change.”
The Iowa Supreme Court prohibited life-without-parole sentences for all juveniles under the state constitution.
A Michigan Court of Appeals held that juveniles convicted of first-degree murder in Michigan have a Sixth Amendment right to jury findings before they may be exposed to life without parole.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court prohibited life-without-parole sentences for all juveniles under the state constitution.
Diatchenko & Roberio v. Dist. Attorney for Suffolk Dist., 471 Mass. 12 (2015): The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that juveniles serving life sentences are entitled to representation by counsel at their initial parole hearings, access to funding for experts, and limited judicial review of parole board decisions.
North Carolina Supreme Court held that juvenile defendant who received mandatory LWOP sentence was entitled to resentencing under Miller notwithstanding statutory entitlement to discretionary sentence review, because review process did not provide sufficiently meaningful opportunity to reduce severity of sentence.
New York appellate court held that parole boards have a constitutional obligation to consider youth and its attendant characteristics, in relationship to the crime, when making parole release decisions for juveniles sentenced to life in prison in order to guarantee a meaningful opportunity for release.
New Jersey Supreme Court held that defendants, sentenced to lengthy, aggregate term-of-year periods of incarceration for homicide and nonhomicide crimes, were entitled to resentencing because the sentences at issue were sufficiently lengthy to trigger Miller’s protections
Ohio Supreme Court determined that defendant’s 112-year aggregate sentence for nonhomicide crimes—pursuant to which he would be eligible for release after 77 years, at age 92—violated Graham’s prohibition on juvenile life without parole for nonhomicide offenders because it denied a meaningful chance to demonstrate rehabilitation and obtain release.