In June of 2012, the United States Supreme Court struck down mandatory life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) sentences for juveniles who kill. Miller v Alabama, ___ US __, 132 SCt 2455 (2012). Miller (and its companion case of Jackson v Hobbs) were an extension of the Court’s earlier ruling in Graham v Florida, ___ US ___, 130 SCt 2011 (2011) which had struck down life without the possibility of parole sentences for juveniles who committed non-homicide cases.
Retroactivity of Miller t is hotly contested. Prosecutors agree that Miller applies to anyone who has a pending case, where they have not been sentenced or have a direct appeal pending. They argue, however, that it is not applicable to cases where the appeal was concluded before the Miller case was decided. The defense bar disagrees.
The Michigan Supreme Court had a case where they could have decided the issue, but chose not to; then came People v Carp. In Carp, the Court of Appeals has fast-tracked an appeal to determine what should happen. I am currently representing the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan in this case. Because of the interest and controversy over the issue, I decided to take the initiative to put together resources for individuals litigating this issue. Carp was argued on October 16, 2012. We anticipate a ruling within one month.
The resource center includes the briefs, news reports, blogs, organizations that are important to this dispute. I anticipate expanding it over time to include information on related cases (such as Commonwealth v Cunnigham in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court), etc.