Following the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama, that sentences of life without parole for non-incorrigible offenders who committed their crimes before the age of eighteen were unconstitutional, state and federal courts were left confused as to the decision’s parameters. In April 2018, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in Grant v. United States, ruled that a term of years sentence that exceeded the life expectancy of an offender who committed a crime as a juvenile constituted de facto life without parole, and was unconstitutional under Miller. This decision was in accordance with decisions by the Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, held that Miller only applies to mandatory sentences of life without parole. This Comment argues that the Third Circuit better analyzed Supreme Court jurisprudence to find that de facto life without parole sentences for non-incorrigible juveniles were inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence. Meanwhile, the Eighth Circuit’s analysis fell short due to that court according insufficient weight to Montgomery v. Louisiana.
Anton Tikhomirov, A Meaningful Opportunity for Release: Graham and Miller Applied to De Facto Sentences of Life Without Parole for Juvenile Offenders, 60 B.C.L. Rev. II.-332 (2019), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol60/iss9/23