Miller v. Alabama

Illinois Court of Appeals Says Miller is Retroactive

The Illinois Court of Appeals just issued a 29 page opinion saying that Miller v Alabama is fully retroactive. This directly conflicts with the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling from two weeks ago to the contrary in People v Carp. The Court said that the ruling was a watershed ruling.
Williams - Miller retroactivty

Court of Appeals Affirms Carp

Today the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld People v Carp. At issue was was whether the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v Alabama was retroactive. If Miller was retroactive, the Court also had to figure out what the appropriate remedy. The Court found that Miller was not fully retroactive and did not apply to cases that were final when Miller was decided. The Court stated that until legislation is passed to fix the Miller problem in Michigan, the remedy was to reduce individual sentences to life with the possibility of parole. The pleadings are available here.

Meanwhile the Legislature has taken action to try and fix things as well.
According to this news article, Michigan has proposed a new bipartisan package of bills on JLWOP in response to Miller. News coverage is here: . Here a legislative summary.

Former Prosecutor Supports Relief to JLWOP Defendants

There was an interesting article by a former appellate prosecutor (now disciplinary counsel) Preston Shipp supporting California’s Senate Bill No. 9 giving relief of former juveniles serving life without a parole (JLWOP) for offenses committed while they were juvenile. Contrary to the rigid beliefs of many prosecutors, Mr. Shipp believes these individuals deserve a second chance.

Pennsylvania Legislature Passes Miller Fix - Updated

According to this AP article, the Pennsylvania Legislature has just passed this Miller fix. Pennsylvania Senate Bill 850. For first degree murder, 15-17 year olds would get either a mandatory 35 years to life sentence or a LWOP sentence; those under 15 years old would get either a mandatory 25 years to life or LWOP sentence. For second degree murder, 15-17 year olds would get a mandatory 30 years to life sentence; those under 15 would get 20 years to life sentence. Here is another interesting summary. Here is a link to the official history on the bill. Here is a link to the Senate Fiscal analysis.It is important to stress that higher sentences are possible and it is possible for a judge to still impose a non-parolable life sentences (for first degree murder defendants only) based on a specific finding of facts.

Pennsylvania has three degrees of murder. Murder in the first degree carried natural life or the death penalty. Second degree murder carried a mandatory life without the possibility of parole. Third degree murder is subject to sentencing under Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Guidelines. Pennsylvania Attorney David Lampman has a
nice summary of Pennsylvania’s homicide laws.

Update: I just found out that the Pennsylvania Coalition for Fair Sentencing of Youth and its parent national organization have serious problems with this law. They consider the bill a hasty piece of legislation that has been rushed through. Pennsylvania Governor Corbetthas until October 27th to sign or veto the bill. Under Pennsylvania law, the Governor could also line-item veto the JLWOP provisions from the legislation. Stay tuned.

The law is not retroactive to cases that were finalized before the date that Miller was decided (June 24, 2012).