Updated: 12:07 p.m. In a 5-4 decision issued Monday morning, the Supreme Court ruled the Eighth Amendment prohibits mandatory sentences of life without possibility of parole for juveniles (JLWOP). The decision stems from two cases—Jackson v Hobbs and Miller v Alabama—involving 14-year-olds convicted of murder and sentenced to mandatory life terms.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion, holding that mandatory JLWOP violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, citing as precedent Roper v Simmons.
“That right ‘flows from the basic “precept of justice that punishment for crime should be graduated and proportioned,” to both the offender and the offense,’ ” Kagan wrote.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the dissenting opinion.