Jones v. Mississippi

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Mississippi Office of the State Public Defender, and Mississippi Public Defenders Association In Support of Petitioner.

Brief filed: 06/12/2020


Jones v. Mississippi

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 18-1259

Prior Decision

Decision below 2018 WL 10700848 (Miss. Nov. 27, 2018)


The Supreme Court has held that life without parole is appropriate only for a “permanently incorrigible” juvenile offender.  States like Mississippi that do not require a finding of permanent incorrigibility are not reliably implementing that command because offenders receive life-without-parole sentences even if they are capable of change.  Mississippi’s approach also produces arbitrary sentencing outcomes, because a juvenile’s sentence depends on whether his sentencer independently comprehends Miller, not on whether he is actually permanently incorrigible.  States that require a finding of permanent incorrigibility ensure that juvenile offenders only receive life-without-parole sentences when the sentence is proportionate and lawful.  Sentencers can still impose life-without-parole sentences when an offender is actually permanently incorrigible. 


Ginger Anders, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Washington, DC; Teresa Reed Dippo, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Barbara E. Bergman, NACDL, Tucson, AZ.

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