In state appellate courts across the country, EJI is arguing that recent United States Supreme Court decisions require real reform in sentencing children who were tried and convicted in adult court.
In just the past two weeks, EJI attorneys have argued in the Florida District Court of Appeal and the Mississippi Supreme Court on behalf of children sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for a homicide offenses, who are now entitled to new sentences under the Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama, and in the Louisiana Supreme Court to preserve the new parole-eligible sentence imposed on a young man convicted of a non-homicide offense by a trial judge complying with Graham v. Florida.
Miller v. Alabama/Jackson v. Hobbs, decided on June 25, 2012, banned mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children; Graham v. Florida barred life-without-parole sentences for children convicted of non-homicide offenses and required that those youth must be given a “meaningful opportunity for release.”
EJI attorneys argued Miller/Jackson and the companion case to Graham, and since those decisions have been seeking to implement the Supreme Court’s rulings in dozens of cases nationwide.
EJI currently has pending litigation in the Arkansas Supreme Court to obtain a new sentence for Kuntrell Jackson, the petitioner in Jackson v. Hobbs. In the Missouri Supreme Court, EJI attorneys are arguing that the Miller decision requires a new sentencing hearing for a 14-year-old boy who was given an automatic death-in-prison sentence.