graham v florida lexis+

This latter interpretation is entirely the Court's creation. Terrance Graham committed serious offenses, for which he deserves serious punishment. An offender's age is relevant to the Eighth Amendment, and criminal procedure laws that fail to take defendants' youthfulness into account at all would be flawed. As noted above, see supra, at 23, it is the policy in some prisons to withhold counseling, education, and rehabilitation programs for those who are ineligible for parole consideration. A similar fate befalls deterrence. See Brief for American Medical Association et al. 2009), Ariz. Rev. Under Florida law, it is within a prosecutor's discretion whether to charge 16- and 17-year-olds as adults or juveniles for most felony crimes. CITATION CODES. This case implicates a particular type of sentence as it applies to an entire class of offenders who have committed a range of crimes. Age and the nature of the crime each bear on the analysis. Indeed, for a time the Court declined to apply proportionality principles to noncapital sentences at all, emphasizing that "a sentence of death differs in kind from any sentence of imprisonment, no matter how long." It is not proof that the punishment is one the Nation abhors. Petitioner Graham was 16 when he committed armed burglary and another crime. . I don't see where any youthful offender sanctions would be appropriate. 15, §3101(4) (Supp. It has been rejected before. "[I]n the rare case in which [this] threshold comparison ... leads to an inference of gross disproportionality" the court should then compare the defendant's sentence with the sentences received by other offenders in the same jurisdiction and with the sentences imposed for the same crime in other jurisdictions. First, the Court holds only that "for a juvenile offender who did not commit homicide the Eighth Amendment forbids the sentence of life without parole." Next, guided by "the standards elaborated by controlling precedents and by the Court's own understanding and interpretation of the Eighth Amendment's text, history, meaning, and purpose," Kennedy, 554 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 10), the Court must determine in the exercise of its own independent judgment whether the punishment in question violates the Constitution. Kennedy, supra, at __ (slip op., at 28); see also Enmund v. Florida, 458 U. S. 782 (1982); Coker v. Georgia, 433 U. S. 584 (1977). Ann. Graham wrote a letter to the trial court. §958 et seq. 543 U. S., at 577. Florida further criticizes this study because the authors were unable to obtain complete information on some States and because the study was not peer reviewed. Because Florida has abolished its parole system, see Fla. Stat. See also Reply Brief for Petitioner 15, n. 8 ("[T]he Court could rule narrowly in this case and hold only that petitioner's sentence of life without parole was unconstitutionally disproportionate"). Of course, the Court recognizes that rehabilitation's "utility and proper implementation" are subject to debate. 2009), Cal. Of course, the Eighth Amendment itself makes no distinction between capital and noncapital sentencing, but the " 'bright line' " the Court drew between the two penalties has for many years served as the principal justification for the Court's willingness to reject democratic choices regarding the death penalty. The charges against Graham were armed burglary with assault or battery, a first-degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, §§810.02(1)(b), (2)(a) (2003); and attempted armed-robbery, a second-degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years' imprisonment, §§812.13(2)(b), 777.04(1), (4)(a), 775.082(3)(c). Given your escalating pattern of criminal conduct, it is apparent to the Court that you have decided that this is the way you are going to live your life and that the only thing I can do now is to try and protect the community from your actions." See Musgrave, Cruel or Necessary? Unsurprisingly, Florida's juvenile criminals receive similarly low sentences--typically less than five years for burglary and less than seven years for robbery. And, unfortunately, that is where we are today is I don't see where I can do anything to help you any further. Before leaving, Graham and his accomplices barricaded Rodriguez and his friend inside a closet. I disagree. The Court nonetheless insists that the 26 States that authorize this penalty, but are not presently incarcerating a juvenile nonhomicide offender on a life-without-parole sentence, cannot be counted as approving its use. In February 2012, Terrance Jamar Graham was re-sentenced by the original trial judge to a 25-year sentence and currently set to be released on 08/16/2025. Stanford v. Kentucky, 492 U. S. 361, 368 (1989) (citing 4 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *23-*24; 1 M. Hale, Pleas of the Crown 24-29 (1800)). §§938.18, 938.183 (2007-2008); §939.62(2m)(c) (Westlaw 2005), Wyo. Id., at 574. See Tr. Legal Hist. Ante, at 16. Kennedy, 554 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 31). 2009), N. Y. 2008); id., Tit., 11, §773(c) (2003), D. C. Code §16-2307 (2009 Supp. The judge imposed the maximum sentence allowed by Florida law on the armed burglary count, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The other 52 are imprisoned in just 10 States--California, Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia--and in the federal system. 21, §1115 (2007 West Supp. §§7B-2200, 15A-1340.16B(a) (Lexis 2009), N. D. Cent. The characteristics of juveniles make that judgment questionable. Only the independent moral judgment of this Court is sufficient to decide the question. LEXIS 12843 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004)(observing that “despite the certification of a question of great importance by the court in Burgess, no further review was sought by either of the parties to that decision.”) 4 Graham’s case, the district court made no certification. The judicial exercise of independent judgment requires consideration of the culpability of the offenders at issue in light of their crimes and characteristics, along with the severity of the punishment in question. He also has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Florida Levin College of Law since 1984, where he teaches trial practice. As is the case here, those States authorized the transfer of some juvenile offenders to adult court; and at that point there was no statutory differentiation between adults and juveniles with respect to authorized penalties. Brief for NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund et al. Nor does such an approach take account of special difficulties encountered by counsel in juvenile representation, given juveniles' impulsiveness, difficulty thinking in terms of long-term benefits, and reluctance to trust adults. The provisions the State notes are, nonetheless, by themselves insufficient to address the constitutional concerns at issue. 08-7621, pp. "[I]n a very short period of time you were back before the Court on a violation of this probation, and then here you are two years later standing before me, literally the--facing a life sentence as to--up to life as to count 1 and up to 15 years as to count 2. Noting Sullivan's past encounters with the law, the sentencing judge concluded that, although Sullivan had been "given opportunity after opportunity to upright himself and take advantage of the second and third chances he's been given," he had demonstrated himself to be unwilling to follow the law and needed to be kept away from society for the duration of his life. Pp. of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Statistical Briefing Book, online at (as visited May 14, 2010, and available in Clerk of Court's case file). The categorical proportionality review the Court employs in capital cases thus lacks a principled foundation. The news of this evolution will, I think, come as a surprise to the American people. §12.1-04-01 (Lexis 1997); §12.1-20-03 (Lexis Supp. Ante, at 16-17, 22-24. 2009), Ill. Comp. as Amici Curiaein support of Respondent, Mathena v. App. (a) Embodied in the cruel and unusual punishments ban is the "precept ... that punishment for crime should be graduated and proportioned to [the] offense." First, it seems odd that the Court counts only those juveniles sentenced to life without parole and excludes from its analysis all juveniles sentenced to lengthy term-of-years sentences (e.g., 70 or 80 years' imprisonment). Petitioner Graham was 16 when he committed armed burglary and another crime. Serious nonhomicide crimes "may be devastating in their harm ... but 'in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public,' ... they cannot be compared to murder in their 'severity and irrevocability.' See Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U. S. 815, 826, n. 24, 850. It has also upheld a life-without-parole sentence for a first-time drug offender in Michigan charged with possessing 672 grams of cocaine despite the fact that only one other State would have authorized such a stiff penalty for a first-time drug offense, and even that State required a far greater quantity of cocaine (10 kilograms) to trigger the penalty. See Harmelin, supra, at 1026 (White, J., dissenting). Brief for Respondent 54 (citing Fla. Stat. We have "not established a clear or consistent path for courts to follow" in applying the highly deferential "narrow proportionality" analysis. The Court inexplicably blames Florida for all of this. Although I have no reason to question the professionalism with which this study was conducted, the study itself acknowledges that it was incomplete and the first of its kind. 2011. The Court nonetheless dismisses existing legislation, pointing out that life-without-parole sentences are rarely imposed on juvenile nonhomicide offenders--129 times in recent memory9 by the Court's calculation, spread out across 11 States and the federal courts. First, the State argues that the laws of Florida and other States governing criminal procedure take sufficient account of the age of a juvenile offender. Pamphlet), Me. This observation does not control our decision. Pamphlet); … Law & Family Studies 11, 69-70 (2007) (noting that life-without-parole sentences for juveniles have increased since the 1980's); Amnesty International & Human Rights Watch, The Rest of Their Lives: Life Without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States 2, 31 (2005) (same). It follows that, when compared to an adult murderer, a juvenile offender who did not kill or intend to kill has a twice diminished moral culpability. Anthony McLeod Kennedy. Roper, supra, at 572-573. See ante, at 17-19; cf. In any event, the Court's categorical conclusion is also unwise. It is true that a death sentence is "unique in its severity and irrevocability," Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U. S. 153, 187 (1976) (joint opinion of Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, JJ. " Enmund, 458 U. S., at 796, n. 22. §§260B.125(1), 609.3455(2) (2008), Miss. Ibid. A recent study concluded that only 11 nations authorize life without parole for juvenile offenders under any circumstances; and only 2 of them, the United States and Israel, ever impose the punishment in practice. Petitioner … 36-37. 12, 2010) (available in Clerk of Court's case file). In Rummel, 445 U. S. 263, the Court rejected an Eighth Amendment challenge to a life sentence for a defendant's third nonviolent felony but stressed that the sentence gave the defendant the possibility of parole. The Court ignores entirely the threshold inquiry of whether subjecting juvenile offenders to adult penalties was one of the "modes or acts of punishment that had been considered cruel and unusual at the time that the Bill of Rights was adopted." In Graham's case the sentencing judge decided to impose life without parole--a sentence greater than that requested by the prosecutor--for Graham's armed burglary conviction. [9], Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, "Justices Limit Life Sentences for Juveniles", "Justices Restrict Life Terms for Youths", "Graham v. Florida (08-7412); Sullivan v. Florida (08-7621)", "Man convicted in 1993 murder to be re-sentenced",, "Death Behind Bars: Examining Juvenile Life without parole in. The court further found that Graham had violated his probation by committing a home invasion robbery, by possessing a firearm, and by associating with persons engaged in criminal activity. Code Ann. Here, two points suffice. Id., at 280-281 (internal quotation marks omitted). The second classification of cases has used categorical rules to define Eighth Amendment standards. II); §5032 (2006 ed. While the judgments of other nations and the international community are not dispositive as to the meaning of the Eighth Amendment, the Court has looked abroad to support its independent conclusion that a particular punishment is cruel and unusual. §§810.02, 921.002(1)(e), 985.557 (2007), Georgia Code Ann. Thereafter, Means was sentenced to life without parole on the kidnapping charge and 90 years consecutive on the second-degree murder and other related charges. Forty-five States, the Federal Government, and the District of Columbia expose juvenile offenders charged in adult court to the very same range of punishments faced by adults charged with the same crimes. Stat., ch. 10A, §§2-5-204, 2-5-205, 2-5-206 (2009 West Supp. It thus seems exceedingly unlikely that the imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on a person of Graham's age would run afoul of those standards. Under Florida law the minimum sentence Graham could receive absent a [p56] downward departure by the judge was 5 years' imprisonment. The Court asserts that categorical proportionality review is necessary here merely because Graham asks for a categorical rule, see ante, at 10, and because the Court thinks clear lines are a good idea, see ante, at 24-25. These salient characteristics mean that "[i]t is difficult even for expert psychologists to differentiate between the juvenile offender whose crime reflects unfortunate yet transient immaturity, and the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption." Robinson v. California, 370 U. S. 660 (1962). Ante, at 23-24 (emphasis added). If this comparative analysis "validate[s] an initial judgment that [the] sentence is grossly disproportionate," the sentence is cruel and unusual. Lockyer, supra, at 72. The State has denied him any chance to later demonstrate that he is fit to rejoin society based solely on a nonhomicide crime that he committed while he was a child in the eyes of the law. Specific cases are illustrative. See Appendix, infra, Part III. Other constitutional provisions ensure the defendant's right to fair process before any punishment is imposed. And in Solem, the only previous case striking down a sentence for a term of years as grossly disproportionate, the defendant's sentence was deemed "far more severe than the life sentence we considered in Rummel," because it did not give the defendant the possibility of parole. The trial court adjudicated Graham guilty of the earlier charges, revoked his probation, and sentenced him to life in prison for the burglary. As such, the analysis should end quickly, because a national "consensus" in favor of the Court's result simply does not exist. Society changes. The instant case concerns only those juvenile offenders sentenced to life without parole solely for a nonhomicide offense. Ibid. Few, perhaps no, judicial responsibilities are more difficult than sentencing. Only in "the rare case" in which such an inference is present should the court proceed to the "objective" part of the inquiry--an intra- and interjurisdictional comparison of the defendant's sentence with others similarly situated. See this Court's Rule 14.1(a); Yee v. Escondido, 503 U. S. 519, 534-538 (1992). A more restrained approach is especially appropriate in light of the Court's apparent recognition that it is perfectly legitimate for a juvenile to receive a sentence of life without parole for committing murder. Ann., Tit. 2, 2010, p. A10; Stogsdill, Delaware County Teen Sentenced in Rape, Assault Case, Tulsa World, May 4, 2010, p. A12. Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U. S. 63, 72 (2003) (internal quotation marks omitted); Solem v. Helm, 463 U. S. 277, 290 (1983); Ewing v. California, 538 U. S. 11, 20 (2003) (plurality opinion); Harmelin, supra, at 996-997 (Kennedy, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment). I write separately to make two points. Our system depends upon sentencing judges applying their reasoned judgment to each case that comes before them. As Graham drove away, a police sergeant signaled him to stop. (quoting Rummel, 445 U. S., at 282; emphasis added). Atkins, supra, at 319; see Roper, supra, at 568; Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U. S. 104 (1982); Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U. S. 586 (1978). See generally Thompson, 487 U. S., at 853 (O'Connor, J., concurring in judgment). Because a life-without-parole prison sentence is not a "cruel and unusual" method of punishment under any standard, the Eighth Amendment gives this Court no authority to reject those judgments. It is also true when they sentence juveniles who commit murder no less than when they sentence juveniles who commit other crimes. Those under 18 years old may as a general matter have "diminished" culpability relative to adults who commit the same crimes, Roper, 543 U. S., at 571, but that does not mean that their culpability is always insufficient to justify a life sentence. . 3d 597 (Fla. 2013),] and NAACP, Inc. v. Florida Board of Regents, 876 So. Ann. Next, looking to "the standards elaborated by controlling precedents and by the Court's own understanding and interpretation of the Eighth Amendment's text, history, meaning, and purpose," Kennedy, supra, at ___, the Court determines in the exercise of its own independent judgment whether the punishment in question violates the Constitution, Roper, supra, at 564. Crim. If anything, the rarity of this penalty's use underscores just how judicious sentencing judges and juries across the country have been in invoking it. 16-24. Ante, at 18. Ultimately, however, the Court's "independent judgment" and the proportionality rule itself center on retribution--the notion that a criminal sentence should be proportioned to " 'the personal culpability of the criminal offender.' SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus GRAHAM v. FLORIDA CERTIORARI TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, 1ST DISTRICT No. Please try again. In Roper, the Court tailored its analysis of juvenile characteristics to the specific question whether juvenile offenders could constitutionally be subject to capital punishment. In 2003, sixteen … No reliable limiting principle remains to prevent the Court from immunizing any class of offenders from the law's third, fourth, fifth, or fiftieth most severe penalties as well. 2d 825, 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010) See, e.g., Roper, 543 U. S., at 575-578; Atkins, supra, at 317-318, n. 21; Thompson, 487 U. S., at 830 (plurality opinion); Enmund, supra, at 796-797, n. 22; Coker, 433 U. S., at 596, n. 10 (plurality opinion); Trop, 356 U. S., at 102-103 (plurality opinion). Graham's parents were addicted to crack cocaine, and their drug use persisted in his early years. The same reasoning obtains here. If these subsequent comparisons confirm the inference of gross disproportionality, courts should invalidate the sentence as a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Because Florida has abolished its parole system, the life sentence left Graham no possibility of release except executive clemency. He said he encountered Bailey and Lawrence only after Bailey had been shot. Id., at 288, 303. Terrance Jamar Graham was a 16 year old convicted of armed burglary and attempted armed robbery with other minor accomplices at a barbeque restaurant in the … Ante, at 27. See 10 U. S. C. §§505(a) (permitting enlistment at age 17), 856a, 920 (2006 ed., Supp. Once in adult court, a juvenile offender may receive the same sentence as would be given to an adult offender, including a life without parole sentence. Thompson, supra, at 835 (plurality opinion). A young person who knows that he or she has no chance to leave prison before life's end has little incentive to become a responsible individual. Many States have chosen to move away from juvenile court systems and to allow juveniles to be transferred to, or charged directly in, adult court under certain circumstances. The Florida Supreme Court denied review. Gen. Laws Ann., ch. This clear line is necessary to prevent the possibility that life without parole sentences will be imposed on juvenile nonhomicide offenders who are not sufficiently culpable to merit that punishment. For the first time in its history, the Court declares an entire class of offenders immune from a noncapital sentence using the categorical approach it previously reserved for death penalty cases alone. Id., at 292-294, 296-297, and n. 22 (considering motive, past criminal conduct, alcoholism, and propensity for violence of the particular defendant); see also Ewing, supra, at 28-30 (plurality opinion) (examining defendant's criminal history); Harmelin, 501 U. S., at 1001-1004 (opinion of Kennedy, J.) as Amici Curiae 16-24; Brief for American Psychological Association et al. See generally Fla. Stat. Ante, at 16. A categorical rule against life without parole for juvenile nonhomicide offenders avoids the perverse consequence in which the lack of maturity that led to an offender's crime is reinforced by the prison term. 17-a, §1251 (2006); Mass. Thus, only 12 jurisdictions nationwide in fact impose life without parole sentences on juvenile nonhomicide offenders--and most of those impose the sentence quite rarely--while 26 States as well as the District of Columbia do not impose them despite apparent statutory authorization. See Moffitt, Adolescence-Limited and Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior: A Developmental Taxonomy, 100 Psychological Rev. In cases of the first type, the Court has considered all the circumstances to determine whether the length of a term-of-years sentence is unconstitutionally excessive for a particular defendant's crime. The case becomes even weaker with respect to a juvenile who did not commit homicide. See Brief for Respondent 40. Under a plea agreement, the Florida trial court sentenced Graham to probation and withheld adjudication of guilt. Code §13.40.110 (2009 Supp. For one thing, by finishing the study itself, the Court prohibits the parties from ever disputing its findings. . Id., at 997, 1000-1001 (Kennedy, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment). of Justice, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report 89, 104 (1999) (hereinafter 1999 DOJ National Report); Feld, Unmitigated Punishment: Adolescent Criminal Responsibility and LWOP Sentences, 10 J. There is no question that the crime for which Graham received his life sentence--armed burglary of a nondomicil with an assault or battery--is "a serious crime deserving serious punishment." Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010) Expanding on the . . The controlling opinion concluded that the Eighth Amendment contains a "narrow proportionality principle," that "does not require strict proportionality between crime and sentence" but rather "forbids only extreme sentences that are 'grossly disproportionate' to the crime." This, in my view, reveals the States' widespread agreement that juveniles can sometimes act with the same culpability as adults and that the law should permit judges and juries to consider adult sentences--including life without parole--in those rare and unfortunate cases. The debate between petitioner's and respondent's amici over whether there is a binding jus cogens norm against this sentencing practice is likewise of no import. The State does not execute the offender sentenced to life without parole, but the sentence alters the offender's life by a forfeiture that is irrevocable. Kennedy, joined by Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Thomas, joined by Scalia; Alito (as to Parts I and III), This page was last edited on 26 December 2020, at 00:47. Never be eligible for life without parole. [ 5 ] weapon was a very charge. §12.1-32-01 ( Lexis 2006 ) ; §5-4-501 ( c ) ( 2009 ) ( 2 ), then promptly the... 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Lawrence Aber et al judges will never have perfect foresight -- perfect. Interpreting the Eighth Amendment at 300 ; Mistretta v. United States from imposing the death law... Without parole for juvenile offenders from receiving a life-without-parole sentence imposed on an adult also,. Classification of cases has used categorical rules the Court implements the proportionality of [ prison sentences. Embodies a moral judgment of this overwhelming legislative evidence, 754 so both homicide and nonhomicide crimes present different... Guarantee eventual freedom to a term-of-years sentence it recoils only from the graham v florida lexis+,... Difficult for the sentencing practice in question here does not even believe its pronouncements about the now. 17 when he was 34 days short of his 18th birthday Curiaein support of petitioner, -vs- State. Given all the circumstances of the Eighth Amendment does not even believe its pronouncements about the nature the. 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