The Supreme Court will review whether long prison sentences for children who are convicted of violent crimes violate the Constitution, reports the Associated Press. The court said today that it would hear in the term beginning next October two Florida cases challenging life sentences for teenagers with no possibility of release. Last month, the Equal Justice Initiative reported that at least 73 U.S. inmates — most of them minorities — have been sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison for crimes committed when they were 13 or 14.
The cases at the Supreme Court involve Joe Sullivan, was convicted of raping an elderly woman at 13, and Terrance Graham, who took part in an armed home invasion robbery at 17 while he was on probation for an earlier violent crime. Both defendants contend that such long sentences that do not involve murder violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.