Putting the judge back in juvenile justice
OUR OPINION: Prosecutors ought not have sole authority to try juveniles as adults
Any day now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether judges can sentence juveniles convicted of serious crimes that don’t result in a death to life without parole. The decision involves two cases in Florida, which incarcerates the most juveniles sentenced to life without parole — 76 out of 109 in the United States.
Joe Sullivan is one of only two men in the United States to receive a life sentence at age 13 after being convicted of brutally beating and raping an elderly woman in Escambia County. Terrance Graham got life without parole for crimes committed when he was 16 and 17 — for armed burglary with assault or battery and attempted armed robbery in Duval County.
Their lawyers argue that life without parole for juveniles who commit nonhomicide crimes is cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.