Martin v. Symmes

Brief of Juvenile Law Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, et al. as amici curiae on Behalf of Appellant (full list of amici in appendix to attached brief).

Brief filed: 01/28/2014


Martin v. Symmes

8th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 13-3676

Prior Decision

Decision below slip copy, 2013 WL 5653447 (D. Minn. 2013).


Miller reaffirms the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition that children are categorically less deserving of the harshest forms of punishments. Miller v. Alabama applies retroactively. Miller is retroactive because Kuntrell Jackson received the same relief on collateral review. Miller applies retroactively pursuant to Teague v. LaneMiller is retroactive because it announces a substantive rule that categorically prohibits the imposition of mandatory life without parole on all juvenile offenders. Miller is retroactive because it involves a substantive interpretation of the Eighth Amendment that reflects the Supreme Court’s evolving understanding of child and adolescent development. Miller is a "watershed rule" under Teague. Once the Court declares a particular sentence "cruel and unusual" when imposed on a juvenile, the continued imposition of that sentence violates the Eighth Amendment.

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Marsha L. Levick, Emily C. Keller, and Lauren Fine, Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, PA.