In re Leif Taylor

Leif Taylor was sentenced to life without parole under a special circumstance felony-murder theory for the death of a man during the theft of a bicycle when he was 16. At the time of Mr. Taylor’s sentencing, life without parole was California’s “presumptive punishment” for 16- and 17-year-olds convicted of special circumstance murder.

Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus letter in the California Supreme Court in support of Mr. Taylor’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his sentence. Our brief argued that U.S. Supreme Court precedent establishes a presumption against life without parole and urged the Court to clarify the process and standards for filing habeas petitions on behalf of Mr. Taylor and over 250 other juveniles who were sentenced in California under the illegal presumption of life without parole.

The California Supreme Court remanded and ordered the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to show cause before the California Superior Court “why petitioner is not entitled to a resentencing hearing.”