Nebraska holds Miller retroactive

Nebraska has joined a growing number of states that have decided the Miller v. Alabama decision, which struck down mandatory life without parole sentences for children, should apply retroactively to those who were sentenced prior to June 25, 2012, the date the decision was issued. More than two dozen individuals sentenced to die in prison as children in Nebraska are entitled to new, constitutional sentences.

The Nebraska Supreme Court issued the ruling today in State v. Castaneda, State v. Mantich and State v. Ramirez, which ruled unconstitutional the sentences of three Omaha men automatically sentenced as children to life without parole. The Court ordered the cases go back to district court for resentencing.

To date, seven state supreme courts have ruled on Miller retroactivity. Four of those states – Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Nebraska — have ruled that Miller should be applied retroactively. In addition, a federal court in Michigan held that Miller is retroactive. The order has been stayed pending appeal. State supreme courts in Louisiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have ruled that Miller is not retroactive. Federal circuit courts in the 5th and 11th districts have also ruled that Miller is not retroactive. Cases are currently pending before state supreme courts in Florida, Washington and Illinois.

Read the cases:

State v. Castaneda

State v. Mantich

State v. Ramirez

February 7, 2014