January 26, 2017

Supreme Court grants review on its own motion in juvenile LWOP case

The Supreme Court yesterday granted review on its own motion in People v. Padilla.  The court does that occasionally.

The last time the court granted review on its own motion, the Attorney General lost in the Court of Appeal, decided not to seek review, but was dragged into the Supreme Court anyway, only to lose againPadilla could be a replay of that scenario.  In Padilla, the Court of Appeal reversed a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a murder committed by a 16-year-old.  The Attorney General did not petition for review, but will now need to defend the case again in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has limited the issue to be briefed and argued to this:  Did Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016) 577 U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 718, 193 L.Ed.2d 599, clarify that Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (Miller) bans a sentence of life without the possibility of parole on a specific class of juvenile offenders whose crimes reflect the transient immaturity of youth, thereby requiring that trial courts determine that the crime reflects “irreparable corruption resulting in permanent incorrigibility” before imposing life without parole, or does a trial court comply with the constitutional mandates of Miller by giving due consideration to the offender’s youth and attendant circumstances in exercising its sentencing discretion under Penal Code section 190.5, subdivision (b)?

Lengthy sentences for crimes committed by minors is of continuing interest to the court.

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