People v. Carp; People v. Davis; People v. Eliason

Brief of Juvenile Law Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, et al. as amici curiae In Support of Appellants Carp, Davis and Eliason (full list of amici in appendix to attached brief).

Brief filed: 02/21/2014


People v. Carp; People v. Davis; People v. Eliason

Michigan Supreme Court; Case No. 146478, 146819 and 147428


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. Any life without parole sentences for a juvenile who did not kill or intend to kill is inconsistent with adolescent development and neuroscience research and unconstitutional pursuant to Miller and Graham. Intent to kill cannot be inferred when a juvenile is convicted of felony murder. Any life without parole sentence for a juvenile convicted of felony murder is unconstitutional pursuant to Miller and Graham. All juveniles convicted of murder in Michigan are entitled to individualized sentences that presumptively provide a meaningful opportunity for release.

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Marsha L. Levick, Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, PA; Bruce W. Neckers, Rhoades McKee PC, Grand Rapids, MI.