Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

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In 1983, Carr was convicted capital murder for killing his brother, stepmother, and stepsister when he was 16 years old. He was sentenced to three concurrent terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. His sentences were imposed without any consideration of his youth. The Missouri Supreme Court granted his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. His sentences violate the Eighth Amendment because, following the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama, juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life without parole pursuant to mandatory sentencing schemes that preclude consideration of the offender’s youth and attendant circumstances. Carr was sentenced under a mandatory sentencing scheme that afforded no opportunity to consider his age, maturity, limited control over his environment, the transient characteristics attendant to youth, or his capacity for rehabilitation. Carr must be resentenced so his youth and other attendant circumstances surrounding his offense can be taken into consideration to ensure he will not be forced to serve a disproportionate sentence in violation of the Eighth Amendment. View "Carr v. Wallace" on Justia Law

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Willbanks was 17 years old when he was charged with kidnapping, first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree robbery, and three counts of armed criminal action, based on a carjacking. He was convicted and sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 15 years for the kidnapping count, life for the assault count, 20 years for each of the two robbery counts, and 100 years for each of the three armed criminal action counts. On appeal, he argued his sentences, in the aggregate, will result in the functional equivalent of a life without parole sentence and that Missouri’s mandatory minimum parole statutes and regulations violate his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment in light of the Supreme Court holding in Graham v. Florida (2010). The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Missouri’s mandatory minimum parole statutes and regulations are constitutionally valid under Graham. Graham held that the Eighth Amendment barred sentencing a juvenile to a single sentence of life without parole for a nonhomicide offense. Graham did not address juveniles who were convicted of multiple nonhomicide offenses and received multiple fixed-term sentences. View "Willbanks v. Missouri Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with first degree assault and an associated armed criminal action count under Mo. Rev. Stat. 571.015.1. Defendant, who was a juvenile at the time of the offenses, moved to dismiss the armed criminal action charge on the ground that the application of the sentencing provisions of section 571.015.1 to juvenile offenders is unconstitutional. The trial court agreed with Defendant, concluding that section 571.015.1 is unconstitutional as applied to all juvenile offenders and declared unconstitutional the three-year mandatory minimum incarceration requirement for juveniles who are certified to stand trial as adults. The State subsequently filed this interlocutory appeal challenging the trial court’s determination regarding the constitutional validity of section 571.015.1. The Supreme Court dismissed the State’s appeal, holding that the State has no right to appeal this interlocutory decision under section 547.200.1, nor does the trial court’s decision constitute a final judgment from which the State is entitled to appeal under section 547.200.2. View "State v. Smiley" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a juvenile, was convicted of first-degree attempted rape. The juvenile court ordered that Appellant register on the juvenile sex offender registry. Appellant appealed, arguing that ordering him to register as a sexual offender for his lifetime, pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 211.425 and 589.400.1(6), violated his constitutional rights. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s claims without prejudice, holding that Appellant’s challenge to the enforcement of section 589.400.1(6), which was not made part of the judgment against Appellant, was not ripe for review, and the lack of justiciability precluded relief in this action. View "S.C. v. Juvenile Officer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law