High Court To Decide If Teen Life Without Parole Ruling Is Retroactive


The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to decide whether its decision banning mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles should be considered retroactively. The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reported earlier that courts in nine states — Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming — have ruled Miller applies retroactively. Courts in four states — Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania — have decided Miller does not apply retroactively.

The court agreed in December to consider the issue in a ruling from the Louisiana Supreme Court, Toca v. Louisiana, but the petitioner in that case, George Toca, was freed in January after nearly 30 years in prison as a result of a deal with prosecutors, thus making his petition to the U.S. Supreme Court moot. The new case involves Henry Montgomery, who has been incarcerated since 1963. He is serving a mandatory life sentence
for a murder he committed just 11 days after he turned seventeen years of age.

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