Making the Sentencing Case: Webinar Materials

photo of young boy in cell

This virtual event was intended for lawyers and mitigators representing youth or emerging adults in criminal sentencing matters, including cases seeking the extension of U.S. Supreme Court caselaw banning extreme sentences for juveniles to individuals 18 or older.

  • The discussion will feature lawyers and researchers showcasing current and emerging scientific research regarding the developmental traits and characteristics of teens and adolescents as well as emerging adults over 18.
  • Presenters will discuss the research and its applicability to sentencing laws and practices, both at initial sentencing and post-conviction, for youth and emerging adults
  • The discussion will also address contrary “expert” testimony, including the Welner Report, and provide practice tips on how to challenge it. The webinar will discuss:

a) robust evidence of brain and behavioral development into the 20s;

b) empirical evidence of transience of adolescent and antisocial behavior among young people;

c) evidence of plasticity of the developing brain and responsiveness to remediation;

d) weaknesses of contrary expert reports;

e) how to utilize scientific research at both initial sentencing hearings and post-conviction



BJ Casey, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Psychology, Yale University and Guest Investigator, The Rockefeller University

Arielle Baskin-Sommers, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry Yale University, Adjunct Professor Yale Law School

Leah Somerville, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Psychology and Center for Brain Science Harvard University

Rebecca Woodman, Attorney at Law, Kansas City, Missouri

Amy Armstrong, Director/Staff Counsel, Arizona Capital Representation Project.

Sam Kooistra, Staff Counsel, Arizona Capital Representation Project

Moderator: Marsha Levick, Chief Legal Officer, Juvenile Law Center


Related Cases
About the Expert

Marsha Levick co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law.