U.S. Supreme Court Orders Florida to Respond to EJI’s Petition Challenging Death-in-Prison Sentence for 13-Year-Old


The United States Supreme Court has asked the State of Florida to respond to EJI’s petition in the case of Joe Sullivan, who was convicted for a sexual assault at age 13 and sentenced to die in prison.

EJI attorneys representing Joe Sullivan filed the petition in December 2008, asking the nation’s highest court to find that Joe’s sentence to die in prison for a crime that occurred when he was 13 years old is cruel and unusual punishment.

The State of Florida, through its attorney general Bill McCollum, waived the right to respond to Joe’s petition.

On January 21, 2009, the Court ordered Florida to file a response, indicating that at least one justice believes the case raises significant or difficult questions.

The case was recently featured in the New York Times.