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LWOP for Teenage Murderers

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The Supreme Court's decision in Graham v. Florida, that persons short of their 18th birthday cannot be sentenced to life-without-parole for nonhomicides, only directly affected a small number of sentences. The main worry is that the Supreme Court jumped a firebreak between capital and noncapital cases in the imposition of bright-line exclusions, and in the future it may extend this line to homicides or to adults.

Monday, the Court passed on a chance to extend Graham to murderers. It denied certiorari in the case of Scott Dyleski, who was 16 when he bludgeoned  Pamela Vitale to death in Lafayette, California (in the east San Francisco Bay area). Bob Egelko has this story in the SF Chron.

3 Comments

I think the "firewall" is simply the sensibilities of five Justices. If they don't like something, nothing will stand in their way on this issue.

No federalist, the "firewall" is Justice Kennedy. And his mantra will be "actual sentencing practices."

He isn't much of a firewall, lol.

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