The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether 14-year-olds convicted of taking part in a murder can be sentenced to life prison terms without the possibility of parole, reports Bloomberg News. Less than a year and a half after ruling that such sentences are unconstitutional for youths convicted of a crime other than murder, the justices accepted two inmate appeals that would extend that conclusion to homicide cases, at least for children 14 and under.
The disputes will test the reach of the constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments. The high court will hear an appeal from Evan Miller, who was 14 at the time he killed a neighbor in Alabama in 2003. In the second case involves Kuntrell Jackson, who was convicted for his role in the 1999 shooting death of a video- store clerk during an Arkansas robbery. Jackson was 14 at the time of the crime.