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The post below was published on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 9:05 AM.

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Second District: Minor Life Sentence

This past year, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Graham v. Florida decision held that a life sentence without the possibility of parole constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment when imposed on a juvenile for a nonhomicide crime.

Does that constitutional limitation apply where a juvenile is convicted of and sentenced to life in prison for attempted first-degree murder with a firearm? Or does that conviction constitute a homicide offense, which would make the limitation inapplicable?

The Second District faced those questions in this case. The court recognized that “death is different” and held that attempted murder is a nonhomicide offense “because death, by definition, has not occurred.”

The limitation thus applied, and the court vacated the sentence.

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