Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifth Circuit: Miller not retroactive

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals joined the mix of courts who have decide the retroactivity of Miller v. Alabama the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory life in prison without parole for juveniles committing first degree murder.

In Craig v. Cain, No. 12-30035 the Fifth Circuit ruled that "Miller is an outgrowth of the Court's prior decisions that pertain to individualized-sentencing determinations.  The holding in Miller does not qualify as a 'watershed rule of criminal procedure implicating the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding.'"

Dale Cain was 17-years-old when he committed murder.  He was sentenced to death.  His sentence was commuted to life without parole after Roper v. Simmons.  Now, he sought retroactive application of Miller to get his life sentence commuted.

The issue of Miller's retroactivity is all over the map--literally.  Pennsylvania is waiting on two state Supreme Court decisions on the issue of Miller and retroactivity.  Iowa's governor issued a "harsh" blanket commutation, a Florida court denied retroactivity, Michigan's attorney general has taken action as well as the legislatures or courts in North Carolina, California, New Hampshire, Nebraska and Wyoming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish the SCOTUS wouldn't hand down opinions like Miller. I think it is clear that they want all kids, past, present and future to have a meangingful chance at parole. They should have foreseen this mess.

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