Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2663834
 


 



Juvenile Life Without Parole in Law and Practice: The End of Superpredator Era Sentencing


John R. Mills


The Phillips Black Project

Anna Dorn


The Phillips Black Project

Amelia Courtney Hritz


Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Law, Psychology and Human Development Program, Students

September 22, 2015

American University Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
This article examines the rapid changes underway in sentencing juveniles to life without parole (JLWOP). It examines both the rapid changes in law and in the actual sentencing practices in the counties and states that continue to sentence persons to die in prison for crimes they commit before reaching age eighteen. In Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), the United States Supreme Court held that mandatory sentences for such offenses violate the Eighth Amendment. In reaching that conclusion, the Court explicitly held open the question of whether any such sentence is constitutional. This article addresses when, where, and on whom JLWOP sentences are being imposed, questions relevant to its constitutionality.

Examining a comprehensive data set of all persons currently serving JLWOP sentences, we find that the vast majority of JLWOP sentences are the product of sentencing policies premised on the myth of the superpredator, are isolated in a handful of counties and states, and that the states with those polices are rapidly abandoning them. We also find that black offenders are twice as likely as their similarly situated white counterparts to receive JLWOP sentences.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 71

Keywords: juvenile life without parole, eighth amendment


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Date posted: September 22, 2015  

Suggested Citation

Mills, John R. and Dorn, Anna and Hritz, Amelia Courtney, Juvenile Life Without Parole in Law and Practice: The End of Superpredator Era Sentencing (September 22, 2015). American University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2663834

Contact Information

John R. Mills (Contact Author)
The Phillips Black Project ( email )
United States
Anna Dorn
The Phillips Black Project ( email )
United States
Amelia Courtney Hritz
Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Law, Psychology and Human Development Program, Students ( email )
Ithaca, NY
United States
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