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The Champion

April 2017 , Page 44 

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Miller, Montgomery, and Mitigation: Incorporating Life History Investigations and Reentry Planning Into Effective Representation for ‘Juvenile Lifers’

By Dana Cook, Lauren Fine, and Joanna Visser Adjoian


“By making youth (and all that accompanies it) irrelevant to imposition of that harshest prison sentence,” mandatory life without parole “poses too great a risk of disproportionate punishment.”

      Miller v. Alabama 132 S. Ct. 2455, 2469 (2012)

Over the last 12 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has fundamentally shifted the understanding of, and approach to, the protections that are constitutionally required when prosecuting and sentencing children in the adult criminal legal system. Starting with Roper v. Simmons1 in 2005 (categorically banning the execution of children under the age of 18), and building on Graham v. Florida2 in 2010 (categorically banning life without parole sentences for children not convicted of homicide), through the most recent cases of Miller v. Alabama3 and Montgomery v. Louisiana4 in 2012 and 2016, respectively (banning mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for children under 18, and then applying that ban retroactively), the Court has

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