A majority of Supreme Court justices seem inclined to take account of the age of young offenders in deciding whether they may be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, the New York Times reports. In the 2005 Roper case, the high court banned the execution of offenders under 18.
Chief Justice John Roberts suggested a compromise approach that did not involve categorical distinctions but would instead require consideration of the offender's age in deciding whether the sentence was proportional to the crime case by case. “We know from Roper that death is different, and we know from Roper that juveniles are different,” the chief justice said. “Wouldn't it make sense to incorporate the consideration of the juvenile status into the proportionality review?”