Courts Limits Harsh Terms for Youths

By Joan Biskupic and Martha T. Moore

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole for crimes other than murder, in a significant 5-4 decision that says imposing such sentences violates the Constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual” punishment.

The court’s 5-4 decision — which says that an automatic life sentence for a young offender who has not committed murder violates the Constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual” punishment — wipes out laws in 37 states.

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