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SCOTUS Hears D.C. Sniper, Jr. Case Tomorrow

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Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of the younger of the D.C. Sniper pair, Lee Boyd Malvo. The case is Mathena v. Malvo, No. 18-217.CJLF's amicus brief in the case is here. Our press release is here.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Miller v. Alabama that life in prison without possibility of parole could not be a mandatory sentence for murderers under 18 at the time of the crime. The decision effectively extended to juvenile LWOP the long-standing rule for capital cases for adults. See Woodson v. North Carolina (1976); Sumner v. Shuman (1987).

The bigger problem is the 2016 decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana. The core holding of that case is that Miller applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In the course of reaching that result, however, there is a lot of expansive language regarding what must be considered before deciding that a 17-year-old should never be released for, e.g., gunning down 12 people, chosen at random, in cold blood. For the Supreme Court to vastly expand a rule in the process of deciding it is retroactive would be remarkable, to say the least. It would be especially strange to impose new requirements in states that have discretionary juvenile LWOP in a case that is about mandatory juvenile LWOP.

The Court's docket, with links to the documents in the case, is here. Amy Howe has this preview at Howe on the Court. Update: Kevin Daley has this article at the Daily Caller.

Update 2 (10/16): The transcript of oral argument is now available.

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