People v. Moore
Tory Moore and Marvin Williams were both sentenced to life without parole for offenses that occurred when they were 19 years old. In a 2018 decision in People v. Harris, the Illinois Supreme Court held that older adolescents could challenge the constitutionality of their sentences under Miller v. Alabama and the Illinois Constitution. However, Mr. Moore and Mr. Williams were denied leave to file successive post-conviction petitions.
Juvenile Law Center joined Children and Family Justice Center and nine other advocacy organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of Mr. Moore and Mr. Williams in the Illinois Supreme Court. The brief argued that recent science on emerging adult brain development has led to corresponding progress in the law, including the extension of Miller-type protections and second look review to older adolescents. The brief further argued that the Court should clarify what is required to put forth a successive postconviction claim and emphasized that pro se litigants face barriers when requesting leave to file successive post-conviction petitions that deny them access to justice.
The Illinois Supreme Court held that neither Mr. Moore nor Mr. Williams sufficiently pled cause for filing their successive postconviction petitions. Specifically, because Miller v. Alabama did not change the law applicable to discretionary sentences imposed on young adults, Miller did not give them cause to raise new challenges to their sentences as violations of either the Eighth Amendment or the Illinois Constitution’s proportionate penalties clause.