Juvenile injustice: The ruling on mandatory life should be retroactive

January 7, 2015

The Supreme Court moved the nation’s justice system forward in 2012 by ruling that mandatory life sentences for juveniles violated the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. That, however, did notdetermine whether the prohibition on such sentences shouldapply retroactively to 2,000 juvenile lifers nationwide.

Juveniles are far more impulsive than adults — as every parent knows — and less equipped to grasp the consequences of their actions. Moreover, no judge or jury can predict what a 15-year-old convicted of murder will become at the age of 35, 45 or 55.

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