Juvenile Law Center’s brief argues that the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole imposed on a 16-year-old is a disproportionate punishment under the U.S. and Massachusetts Constitutions.
Briefed the issue of constitutionality of a state certification statute that requires juveniles, in violation of their right to due process and against self-incrimination, to admit guilt in order to rebut the presumption of certification to adult court.
Argued that the use of delinquency adjudications to enhance an adult criminal sentence violates US Supreme Court precedent as well as California's commitment to maintaining a separate juvenile justice system.
Argued that a provision in New Mexico state law allowing juveniles to be sentenced by juvenile court judges as adults if the judge found them “not amenable to treatment” was unconstitutional under the Sixth Amendment.
Juvenile Law Center was co-counsel in Montgomery v. Louisiana, a case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that Miller v. Alabama (2012) applies retroactively to individuals serving mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences.
These briefs involved a thirteen-year-old student who was questioned by four adults, including a uniformed police officer, on school grounds regarding a series of break-ins. Juvenile Law Center argued that the student should have been considered in custody for Miranda purposes.
Supreme Court held the execution of juveniles unconstitutional. Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued the developmental differences between adolescents and adults in critical areas, including impulse control and understanding consequences.
One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before.