SUPREME COURT FINDS THAT MANDATORY LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR JUVENILES VIOLATES THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT

The Supreme Court ruled last week that mandatory life without parole (LWOP) sentences are unconstitutional in juvenile cases. In two cases, involving 14 year old boys convicted in adult courts in Alabama and Arkansas of murder the Supreme Court reversed the sentence after the boys were sentenced to mandatory life without parole sentences. As in Roper v. Simmons, in which the court outlawed the use of the death penalty for juveniles the Court in Miller v. Alabama found that The […] Read more »

RACE AND PUNISHMENT OF JUVENILES

A study entitled “Race and the Fragility of the Legal Distinction between Juveniles and Adults” written by scientists at Stanford University shows that White Americans feel that Black juveniles should be punished more severely for the same behavior that White juveniles perform. The scientists took the factual situation from Graham v. Florida but in the description given to half of the participants the scientists inserted the word, “White,” to describe the defendant and in the other half they inserted the […] Read more »

UPDATE: LUCERNE COUNTY AFTER THE CONVICTION OF TWO JUVENILE COURT JUDGES

Former Lucerne County, Pennsylvania juvenile court judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were convicted last year for receiving over a million dollars in bribes from developers of private prisons for sending juveniles to their facilities. Since the scandal came to light the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reversed the convictions of 2,251 juveniles sentenced by Ciavarella and Conahan. Part of the Lucerne County system under Ciavarella and Conahan was that the juveniles were routinely denied the right of counsel. As a […] Read more »

POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED FOR SEX WITH JUVENILE VICTIM

Walnut Creek, California authorities announced that former police officer, Shawn Wallace was arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage woman and dissuading a witness. He has been released from custody and he has not been charged with any crimes. While on duty he investigated the sexual assault of a seventeen year old girl. The victim ended up moving into Wallace’s house and, according to his lawyer, Michael Rains, they had a sexual relationship. If this is true, […] Read more »

FORMER JUDGE CIAVARELLA CONVICTED

Former Luzerne County Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. was found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy and a host of tax fraud charges in what has become known as the“Kids for Cash Scandal.” As a juvenile court judge, it was alleged that Ciavarella received money from a for profit company in exchange for sending children to the company’s private jail. Many of the children were sent to the facility for […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT BANS LWOP SENTENCES FOR JUVENILES CONVICTED OF CRIMES OTHER THAN HOMICIDE

The Supreme Court, yesterday, banned the use of life without parole (LWOP) sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide. In Graham v. Florida it reversed the life without parole sentence of a Florida teenager who violated his probation for a home invasion robbery by committing an armed robbery. The Court found that sentencing a juvenile to life in prison without parole for a crime other than homicide violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban of cruel and unusual punishment. The […] Read more »

STUDY FINDS LIMITED IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT

In 2006 Congress enacted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. The act requires among other things that youth as young as fourteen years register, often for life, following a conviction or a juvenile adjudication for certain sex offenses. it also mandates the publication on the internet of specific information about certain sex offenders including their addresses. A study by the Associated Press found as to juveniles convicted of registrable offenses the law has not been fully implemented in […] Read more »