The NY Times’ Adam Liptak and Lisa Faye Petak outline the issue as it presently stands and examine how the court might view it. Here’s a representative clip:
Almost a year ago, the Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juvenile offenders to life without the possibility of parole violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment — but only for crimes that did not involve killings. The decision affected around 130 prisoners convicted of crimes like rape, armed robbery and kidnapping.
Now the inevitable follow-up cases have started to arrive at the Supreme Court. Last month, lawyers for two other prisoners who were 14 when they were involved in murders filed the first petitions urging the justices to extend last’s year’s decision, Graham v. Florida, to all 13- and 14-year-old offenders.
The Supreme Court has been methodically whittling away at severe sentences. It has banned the death penalty for juvenile offenders, the mentally disabled and those convicted of crimes other than murder. The Graham decision for the first time excluded a class of offenders from a punishment other than death.
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Photo by Dilip Vishwanat for the NY Times