May 26, 2010
On May 17, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Graham v. Florida. The question in this case was whether the imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole on a juvenile convicted of a non-homicide offense violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments. By a vote of 6-3 the, Court struck down the sentence. In an opinion for the Court written by Justice Kennedy and joined by four Justices, the Court held that the Eighth Amendment does not permit a juvenile offender to be sentenced to life in prison without parole for a non-homicide crime. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment on the ground that the particular sentence at issue in this case was unconstitutionally disproportionate under the Court's precedents.
To discuss the case, we have University of Florida Levin College of Law Assistant Professor John F. Stinneford.