Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile and Criminal Justice|Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Ligon

Juvenile Law Center, in collaboration with Defender Association of Philadelphia, Cozen O’Connor, Peter Goldberger, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, filed a brief in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on behalf of Mr. Ligon and other named defendants in support of the questions of law raised in General Court Regulation #1 of 2016 to be resolved by an en banc panel prior to re-sentencing the juvenile life without parole population. Since Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia in particular has the largest juvenile lifer population in the country, the court’s decision is likely to have a significant impact on many juvenile lifer re-sentencings.

Among other things, our brief argues that Miller and Montgomery established a presumption against juvenile life without parole and the imposition of a maximum sentence of life imprisonment is unconstitutional as applied to juveniles. We further argued that a juvenile facing the possibility of a life without parole sentence is entitled to similar protections and procedural safeguards as an adult facing capital punishment, including the right to a jury determination, expert testimony, and a reasonable doubt standard, as well as, constitutional limits on victim impact testimony and court funded mitigation.

The en banc panel held that “[i]f the Commonwealth is seeking a sentence of life without parole, it shall provide notice of such intent at the conclusion of the JLSWOP status hearing and in its Concise Statement,” but found the Defendants’ other arguments to be without merit.

 

Further Reading

"Philly's oldest juvenile lifer resentenced, but is it too late?" Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, 5/17/17

"Nation's Oldest Juvenile Lifer Refuses Parole, Will Appeal New Sentence," Cherri Gregg, CBS Philly, 5/17/17

Details

Case Number
CP-51-CR-0311332-1953
Type
Direct
Date
January 06, 2017
Court
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
State of Origin
Pennsylvania

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