Congressional Digest

Supreme Court Debates October 2012 No. 7 Vol. 15
Life Without Parole Revisited

Life Without Parole Revisited

Eighth Amendment Protection of Juvenile Murderers

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In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Florida held that juveniles could not be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for nonhomicide crimes (see “Life Without Parole for Minors,” Supreme Court Debates, January 2010). Five years earlier, in Roper v. Simmons, the Court had ruled that juveniles could not be given the death penalty under any circumstances (see “Executing Minors,” Supreme Court Debates, December 2004). In both cases, the Supreme Court found that juveniles have a diminished moral culpability — that their brains are not fully developed, and they lack the maturity and…

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