Legal Docket

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Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Michigan Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that the mandatory imposition of life without parole on an 18-year-old violates the federal and Michigan constitutions for the same reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court barred such sentences for youth under 18 in Miller v. Alabama.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Washington Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that racial bias infects Washington’s criminal legal system and compounds the risk that an unjust life sentence will be imposed, and that Mr. Anderson’s sentence does not serve the penological goals of retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, or rehabilitation. We further emphasized that sentencing youth to life in prison ignores their capacities to make meaningful contributions to their communities in the future.
Keeping Kids in the Community
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit •
The brief argued that Ohio’s policy undermines Congress’s intent to keep children with their families and disregards the advantages of kinship care. The brief further argued that Ohio’s policy disproportionately harms Black and Brown children, as they are overrepresented in the kinship foster care system, and makes already-poor families poorer, as kinship caregivers are typically poorer than licensed non-relative foster parents.
Sex Offender Registration of Children (SORNA)
Oregon Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that empirical research and the constitutional guarantees afforded to youth mandate a presumption against registering youth as sex offenders. We further argued that Oregon’s juvenile sex offender registration statute is unconstitutionally vague, not rationally related to a legitimate state purpose, and likely to disproportionately affect youth of color and LGBTQ youth.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Maryland Court of Appeals •
Amici argued that imposing a life without parole sentence without considering the characteristics of youth is unconstitutional—whether imposed under a mandatory or discretionary sentencing scheme.
Youth Tried as Adults
Illinois Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that predicating Class X eligibility on youthful offenses ignores the constitutionally recognized developmental differences between children and adults. We further argued that the Class X Felony Statute has a disproportionate effect on Black and Brown youth, as they are transferred to adult court at disparate rates. 
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Washington Supreme Court •
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.
Youth Tried as Adults
Ohio Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that probable cause hearings that result in transfer to adult court require due process protections to protect youth from the harms of the adult system and prevent racially disproportionate transfer. Our brief also argued that any sentence with a life tail should be treated consistently with the process set forth in State v. Patrick, which mandates consideration of youth and its attendant characteristics before imposing a life sentence. We further argued that life sentences are imposed disproportionately on youth of color and must therefore be subject to additional safeguards.