The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it’s unconstitutional for states to mandate juvenile murderers to life in prison without the possibility of parole, citing it as cruel and unusual punishment, reports the Washington Post.
“Our decisions rested not only on common sense — on what ‘any parent knows’ — but on science and social science as well,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote, adding “the mandatory penalty schemes at issue here prevent the sentencer from taking account of these central considerations.”
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However, the 5-4 ruling revealed the court was not unanimous in its decision, with the conservative justices siding with the authority of the states to determine such sentences.
“Determining the appropriate sentence for a teenager convicted of murder presents grave and challenging questions of morality and social policy,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “Our role, however, is to apply the law, not to answer such questions.”
For those of you who’ve seen our program Killer Kids and take interest in this recent Supreme Court ruling, what say you? Do you agree that slapping a juvenile murderer with life in prison without parole is cruel and unusual punishment—no matter how heinous the crime?