Legal News of the Day: Federal Judge Rules Juvenile Life Sentences Unconstitutional

On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that handing down life sentences to juveniles with no chance of parole is unconstitutional.  The court found that last year’s Supreme Court decision, Miller v. Alabama, holding that mandatory life sentences for juveniles was cruel and unusual punishment, should be applied retroactively to juveniles sentences prior to Miller.  The ruling focused on the constitutionality of a parole statute imposing mandatory life sentences when certain offenses have been committed; after Wednesday’s decision, plaintiffs will now be eligible for parole.