Miller v. Alabama
|Docket No.||Op. Below||Argument||Opinion||Vote||Author||Term|
|10-9646||Ala. Ct. Crim. App.||
Mar 20, 2012
|Jun 25, 2012||5-4||Kagan||OT 2011|
Holding: The Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentencing scheme that requires life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.
Plain English Summary: In a series of decisions dating back to 1988, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that youths under age 18 who commit crimes must not necessarily get as severe a punishment as adults who committed the same kind of crimes. Among other rulings, the Court has forbidden the death penalty for minors who commit murders, and it has barred a sentence of life in prison without a chance of release for minors who commit crimes in which the victim is not killed. In this new ruling, the Court avoiding imposing such a flat ban on life without parole for a minor who commits murder, but it did rule out such a sentence as a mandatory requirement in all such cases. It said, though, that it does not expect very many youths under age 18 to get such a sentence that essentially would require them to stay in prison until they die.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Kagan on June 25, 2012. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Sotomayor joined. Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito joined. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined. Justice Alito, filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Scalia joined.
- Academic highlight: Drinan on the implementation of Graham and Miller
- Opinion recap: Narrow ruling on young murderers' sentences
- Eighth Amendment prohibits mandatory life without parole for juveniles
- Argument recap: Compromise on youth sentences?
- Argument preview: Youthful crimes, life sentences
- SCOTUS for law students: Defining the contours of the Eighth Amendment
- New review on youths' punishment
Briefs and DocumentsMerits Briefs for the Petitioner
- Brief for Former Juvenile Court Judges
- Brief for The American Psychological Association et al.
- Brief for Amnesty International, et al.
- Brief for Certain Family Members of Victims Killed by Youths
- Brief of Jeffrey Fagan et al.
- Brief for J. Lawrence Aber et al.
- Brief for Professor of Law and his Students from the Moritz College of Law
- Brief for Juvenile Law Center et al.
- Brief for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund et al.
- Brief for Michigan et al.
- Brief for National District Attorneys Association
- Brief for the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers