The Michigan Supreme Court just granted permission to appeal on People v Carp and People v Eliason. These cases deal with the retroactivity of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v Alabama (Carp); and the appropriate remedy should be for these individuals (Eliason). The Court has also agreed to hear a third case where the question is whether a juvenile convicted of aiding and abetting first degree murder can potentially receive a natural life sentence or whether Graham v Florida bars this. I will post an update to this with links to the various orders in the near future. In the mean time, here is a good link from M-Live.
Williams - Miller retroactivty
Pennsylvania has three degrees of murder. Murder in the first degree carried natural life or the death penalty. Second degree murder carried a mandatory life without the possibility of parole. Third degree murder is subject to sentencing under Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Guidelines. Pennsylvania Attorney David Lampman has a nice summary of Pennsylvania’s homicide laws.
Update: I just found out that the Pennsylvania Coalition for Fair Sentencing of Youth and its parent national organization have serious problems with this law. They consider the bill a hasty piece of legislation that has been rushed through. Pennsylvania Governor Corbetthas until October 27th to sign or veto the bill. Under Pennsylvania law, the Governor could also line-item veto the JLWOP provisions from the legislation. Stay tuned.
The law is not retroactive to cases that were finalized before the date that Miller was decided (June 24, 2012).
In People v Carp, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed to hear whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v Alabama is retroactive. Miller struck down mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of murder. Previously, the Court struck down the same punishment as applied to non-murderers.The Court said that life without should rarely be given. One of the two cases that the Court heard was from Arkansas and called Jackson v Hobbs. Since Jackson had already lost his appeal, yet the Supreme Court gave Mr. Jackson the benefit of the ruling, a very good argument exists that Miller is fully retroactive. The Carp pleadings are available here.
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Graham v. Florida, No. 08-7412 and Sullivan v. Florida, 08-7621. In both cases, the Court juvenile offenders were given non-parolable life sentences. Several years ago, the high court struck down the death penalty for juvenile offenders taking notice of cognitive development and the fact that juveniles brains are not fully developed at the time. They neither fully appreciate the consequences of their actions or are as set in their ways as their adult counterparts.According to SCOTUS blog, the oral arguments look promising. Chief Justice Roberts took the lead in arguing that the sanction was too harsh. Stay tuned.