State v. Bassett

Juvenile Law Center, along with American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and other advocacy organizations, filed an amicus brief in the Washington Supreme Court in support of Brian Bassett who was sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed when he was a teenager.

Our brief argued that research in adolescent development and neuroscience confirm that life without parole sentences serve no legitimate penological purpose when applied to children and are therefore violative of the state constitution.

In a 5-4 decision released on October 18, 2018, the state’s Supreme Court said sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole or early release constitutes cruel punishment. It upheld an earlier Court of Appeals decision to send the case to the trial court for resentencing.