In re Williams
Washington’s Persistent Offender ("three strikes") statute imposes mandatory life without parole on any person convicted of 3 "most serious" offenses, even if some of those offenses occurred when the person was a child. Raymond Williams received his first qualifying strike—a robbery of an unoccupied house—when he was just 16 years old and struggling with homelessness and depression after running away from an abusive home. Because of that offense, he is now serving life without parole, even though no judge had the opportunity to consider the impact of his age or other mitigating characteristics before imposing that harshest of available sanctions.
Juvenile Law Center and TeamChild filed an amicus brief in the Washington Court of Appeals in support of Mr. Williams. We argued that Washington’s Persistent Offender statute violates both the Federal and Washington Constitutions by using a juvenile offense as the basis for imposing mandatory life without parole.
Juvenile Law Center joined American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, the Washington Defender Association, and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in the filing of a joinder in support of petitioner's motion to transfer the appeal to the Washington Supreme Court.