State v. Moore

Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of Brandon Moore, who received a sentence of 112 years for non-homicide offenses he committed when he was only 15-years-old.

The trial court had determined that at 15, Moore was beyond rehabilitation and should never be permitted to leave prison. As a result, the court sentenced him to a term of years sentence totaling 112 years, with no possibility of parole until his 107th birthday. Our brief argued that this sentence is unconstitutional pursuant to the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Graham v. Florida, which held that juvenile non-homicide offenders cannot be sentenced to life without parole without a meaningful and realistic opportunity to re-enter society.

This amicus brief describes the approach other jurisdictions throughout the U.S. have taken in response to Graham’s categorical prohibition on life without parole sentences for non-homicide juvenile offenders and shows that most states, when faced with sentences as extreme as Moore’s, have responded to Graham by enforcing the requirement that juveniles be given a meaningful opportunity for release.

The Ohio Supreme Court concluded, “We hold in this case that Graham’s categorical prohibition of sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juveniles who commit nonhomicide crimes applies to juvenile nonhomicide offenders who are sentenced to term-of-years sentences that exceed their life expectancies.”