Neves v. State

In 2021, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted a statute informally known as “Mario’s Law,” providing that “any person sentenced for any offense prior to his or her twenty-second birthday” is eligible for parole after serving twenty years. The State of Rhode Island contends that the statute as written does not apply to individuals convicted of multiple offenses and serving consecutive sentences, including the Respondents in this case—Joao Neves, Keith Nunes, Pablo Ortega, and Mario Monteiro, the namesake of Mario’s Law—and to the extent it does apply, it violates separation of powers principles.

Juvenile Law Center, The Sentencing Project, The Gault Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Prison Policy Initiative filed an amicus brief in the Rhode Island Supreme Court in support of Respondents. Our brief argues that the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama are relevant to and consistent with the adoption and interpretation of Mario’s Law, and that the State of Rhode Island seeks to preserve the power and influence it wields over youthful offenders through charge stacking, a practice that exacerbates racial inequities and is uniquely problematic when applied to youth.



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