The Champion

April 2016 , Page 16 

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NACDL News: Ban on Mandatory Juvenile Life Without Parole Strengthened, Made Retroactive

By Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

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In a case revisiting its landmark 2012 juvenile justice decision in Miller v. Alabama, on Jan. 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its holding in Miller prohibiting mandatory life without parole for juveniles is a substantive rule of constitutional law and therefore retroactive in cases of state collateral review. Indeed, the Court emphasized its finding in Miller that it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual” punishment to mandatorily impose life without parole sentencing for juveniles. By its ruling, the Court resolves what had become a split in the state courts.

“Children are different. Full stop. We know this. Science has proven it. And now the United States has another important Supreme Court opinion holding that the criminal law must recognize it,” said NACDL President E.G. “Gerry” Morris. “NACDL has proudly and diligently worked on Miller and Miller-retroactivity as well as numerous oth

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  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
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