Bostic v. Pash
Juvenile Law Center joined the University of San Francisco Center for Law and Global Justice and Human Rights Advocates to file an amicus brief in support of Bobby Bostic’s habeas petition in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Mr. Bostic was sentenced to 241 years in prison for non-homicide offenses committed when he was 16 years old.
The brief argued that Petitioner Bostic’s sentence is the equivalent of life without parole because Missouri law requires him to serve a minimum of 92 years before becoming parole-eligible. This sentence violates the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Graham v. Florida, which held that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life for non-homicide offenses without a meaningful and realistic opportunity for re-entry into society prior to the expiration of their sentence. Petitioner Bostic's sentence is unconstitutional because it serves no legitimate penological purpose and is disproportionate with respect to his age at the time of the offense. The brief argued that the appropriate remedy is to resentence Petitioner Bostic to a sentence that allows for a meaningful parole consideration.
In 2013, the court dismissed Mr. Bostic’s case without prejudice.
In 2017 Mr. Bostic filed a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court under the caption Bostic v. Pash. Juvenile Law Center along with Children and Family Justice Center and The Sentencing Project filed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Bostic, arguing that Graham prohibits not only formal life without parole sentences for juvenile nonhomicide offenders, but also discretionary term-of-years sentences such as a 241 year sentence with parole eligibility at 112 which is the functional equivalent of a life without parole sentence and therefore violates the Eighth Amendment.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Mr. Bostic's petition for certiorari, leaving the question of the constitutionality of lengthy term-of-years sentences for juvenile offenders unaddressed.