Legal Docket

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Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court •
Our brief argued that the 1996 Amendment which provided for a maximum of a 5-year setback after parole application denial does not apply retroactively to juveniles or adults. Arguing that the amendment risked increasing terms of incarceration for those it is applied to retroactively, the brief suggests that it violates the state and federal constitutional ex post facto provisions.
Youth Tried as Adults
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit •
Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that a 65-year sentence does not provide a meaningful opportunity for release based upon demonstrated rehabilitation and maturity as required by United States Supreme Court jurisprudence. We further argued that young offenders’ distinct capacity for rehabilitation forecloses de facto life sentences and that age and the possibility of fulfillment outside prison walls, not life expectancy, determine whether a sentence provides a meaningful opportunity for release.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Michigan Supreme Court •
Our brief urged the court to grant review in order to address the constitutional deficiencies in Michigan’s parole process and ensure that Michigan provides youth sentenced to parolable life a meaningful opportunity for release.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Oregon Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that the Eighth Amendment's protections apply with equal force to children who are serving lengthy term-of-years sentences and were convicted of multiple offenses.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania •
The petition urges the court to grant review to determine whether a sentence of 50 years to life imposed upon a juvenile constitutes a de facto life sentence and thus requires the sentencing court provide the same procedural protections as required for imposing sentences of life without parole on juveniles.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
U.S. Supreme Court •
Our brief urged the court to grant certiorari to address the lower court’s failure to adequately consider Mr. Morrow’s childhood sexual abuse as powerful mitigating evidence counseling against the imposition of the death penalty.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
U.S. Supreme Court •

Kipland Kinkel received a 112 year sentence for crimes he was convicted of at age 15. At the time of his crimes, Mr. Kinkel suffered

Access to Counsel
Supreme Court of Indiana •
Our brief argued that a juvenile disposition modification hearing is a “critical stage” in delinquency proceedings entitling children to the effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment and that counsel who argues that a child should be placed in the harshest and most punitive setting available cannot be said to be providing effective assistance.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Supreme Court of Illinois •
We argued that a lengthy sentence imposed on a youth, which precludes a meaningful opportunity to obtain release, violates the Eighth Amendment. We further argued that Illinois sentencing structure, which imposes an automatic 25 years-to-life in firearm enhancements on top of mandatory minimums on youth tried as adults, fails to meaningfully consider youth as required by Miller and Montgomery.