Accepting Miller’s ­Invitation: Conducting a Capital-Style Mitigation Investigation in Juvenile-Life

The 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama issued an invitation for the defense bar to create a fairer and more individualized sentencing landscape in juvenile cases with a potential sentence of life without parole (JLWOP). JLWOP cases now are arguably the constitutional equivalent of death penalty cases, and thus the principles of capital mitigation investigations should apply. The defense team’s investigation must include an exhaustive examination of the client, his life, medical and mental health, social connections, and environment.