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Judicial Sentencing Essay

2281 words - 10 pages

Juvenile Sentencing
The murder of Cole Cannon was a heinous one indeed. He was robbed; they took his baseball card collection and three-hundred dollars from his wallet. He was beaten; the criminals attacked the poor man with a baseball bat until he laid weak and barely conscious on the floor in his own home. And after all that, they couldn’t just leave Mr. Cannon alone. As their final act, they set fire to Mr. Cannon’s trailer with him still inside. Due to his severe injuries caused by the criminals, Mr. Cannon was not able to escape. Before the fire could get to him, he died from smoke inhalation.
The Supreme Court came together on March 20, 2012, to again discuss the sentencing of Evan ...view middle of the document...

In Miller’s case, since his actions were so horrific and he did kill his neighbor, maybe life in prison without parole is best for someone like him.
There is another Supreme Court case, Jackson v. Hobbs, which was heard on the same day as Miller v. Alabama. Like Evan Miller, Kuntrell Jackson was fourteen when he was charged with capital murder, “automatically transferred to adult court based upon the underlying offense, convicted, and then sentenced to life without parole under” (Hechinger) Arkansas’s mandatory sentencing schemes, without any consideration of his age or other mitigating circumstances. Alabama runs’s the same way. However, with Jackson, the Court granted him certiorari because unlike the crime committed my Miller, Jackson was charged and convicted as an accomplice to felony murder. He did not commit the murder himself, and he was not even aware that any killing was going to be taking place.
Kuntrell Jackson should be dropped of his life without parole charges. It is unfortunate that Arkansas and Alabama have such a quick and harsh sentencing scheme that doesn’t even take the age of the criminal into consideration. With Miller it may not matter because his actions were so horrible, but for Jackson, his eighth and fourteenth amendment rights were definitely violated. “Miller and Jackson give the Supreme Court the opportunity to decide whether life without parole is unconstitutional when imposed on an individual fourteen years or younger (1) for a homicide offense, (2) as a result of a mandatory sentencing scheme, or (3) as a non-triggerman accomplice without a showing of “intent to kill.”” (Hechinger)
Not all juvenile cases are brought to the Supreme Court. In California, the Court of Appeal declared a life with the possibility of parole sentence to be unconstitutional. The court believed the sentence to be cruel and unusual punishment for a sixteen year old. “Victor Mendez did not commit a homicide or inflict bodily injury but was sentenced to 84-years- to-life in prison, a sentence that meant he would have no real opportunity for release. Relying on the recent US Supreme Court Case, Graham v. Florida, the California court found that the lengthy sentence did not give him  “some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.”” (“Recent Court Cases”)
In the Supreme Court case, Graham v. Florida, Terrance Graham was seventeen years old when he pleaded guilty to armed burglary with assault or battery, and attempted armed robbery. While on probation for his crime, Graham committed a home invasion robbery and other offenses. These additional acts not only violated his probation, but they sentenced him to life without parole.
The Supreme Court relied on the previous decision in the Roper v. Simmons case when determining Graham’s sentencing to be unconstitutional. The decision in Roper v. Simmons banned the death penalty for juveniles, “finding that psychological and scientific...

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