In its decision in #JonesvMississippi today, SCOTUS ruled that when determining whether to sentence a child to life without parole, the court need not make a specific finding that the child is permanently incorrigible.
The Court’s ruling emphasizes that youth must still be considered as a mitigating factor in a discretionary sentencing scheme.
This decision doesn't disrupt the Court’s prior holdings saying that youth matters in sentencing. But, the absence of a finding or on-the-record determination of how youth was considered will result in JLWOP being imposed unevenly and in racially disproportionate ways.
In Pennsylvania, Juvenile Law Center successfully persuaded the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Commonwealth v. Batts, to require a finding of permanent incorrigibility before a sentence of LWOP could be imposed.
As a result, only 6 out of over 540 PA individuals originally serving juvenile life without parole sentences have been resentenced to life without parole. Nothing in today’s decision should affect the Pa Supreme Court requirements.
You can follow @JuvLaw1975.
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