Monday, March 24, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court says Miller v. Alabama retroactive

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled  last week that about 81 convicted murders – sentenced to mandatory life terms for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18 – can re-argue their sentences in court, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
That means some of the convicted murderers could argue for reduced sentences and eventually gain release.
The court’s finding builds on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama, that declared mandatory life sentences issued to children a “cruel and unusual” form of punishment and thus unconstitutional.
Left undecided at that time was whether the ruling applied to old cases.
The unanimous Illinois Supreme Court opinion — written by Justice Charles E. Freeman — said that in Illinois, at least, the high court’s ruling does in fact apply to old cases.
Freeman wrote that while juveniles may still be sentenced to life in prison, a life sentence cannot be mandatory.
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