Supreme Court rules on juvenile sentencing

Ann Arbor attorney Deborah LaBelle, who has worked for years to change the way Michigan treats juvenile offenders, is celebrating this week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 25 that it is unconstitutional for states to require juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"The Supreme Court has vindicated what many of us have been saying all along," LaBelle told The Legal News. "Michigan needs to treat child differently than adults and recognize their lesser culpability for their actions."

The Supreme Court ruling was 5-4, with Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor in the majority.

Kagan wrote that mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes "violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on 'cruel and unusual punishment.'

Published: Thu, Jun 28, 2012


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