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.
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.
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.
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.
Amici argued that mandatory sentencing that imposes harsh adult consequences on juvenile offenders without any individualized consideration of age or other mitigating circumstances contravenes the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Along with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Juvenile Law Center filed a brief in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania arguing that imposing an additional six years on a juvenile lifer at resentencing is excessive where the court found credible evidence that established that the juvenile had been rehabilitated. We further argued that it is unconstitutional to impose a mandatory lifetime parole tail on all juvenile lifers being resentenced.
The amicus brief argued that Miller and Montgomery establish a presumption against imposing life without parole sentences on juveniles and requires a finding that the juvenile is permanently incorrigible and incapable of reform.
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