© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

State Supreme Court Extends Federal Ruling About Juvenile Sentencing

Creative Commons via Flickr
Boston Public Library (https://flic.kr/p/dm18Ao)
Credit Creative Commons via Flickr / Boston Public Library (https://flic.kr/p/dm18Ao)
Boston Public Library (https://flic.kr/p/dm18Ao)

The Florida Supreme Court has reached a groundbreaking decision about inmates who weresentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole for crimes they committed while they were still kids.

The decision makes 2012's Miller v. Alabama apply retroactively. It was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled mandatory life sentences without the opportunity for release were cruel and unusual.

For the past three years, 201 Florida inmates have been in a kind of limbo. They're inmates who were sentenced to life in prison without parole as juveniles before the Miller ruling.

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the federal decision should be applied retroactively, which means those inmates will have a shot at reducing their sentences. South Florida is home to almost a quarter of them.

Paolo Annino is co-director of Florida State University's Public Interest Law Center and has conducted extensive research on the remaining Miller cases. He says this ruling means hope for those inmates.

“And it’s a realistic hope,” saysAnnino. “It’s a hope that someday they may be released, and when that day is will depend on whether or not they earned it.”

He says the inmates will have to demonstrate a degree of rehabilitation as evidenced by taking advantage of prison recourses, like earning their GEDs.

Inmates will have two years to apply for resentencing, at which point they’ll make their case for release.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit .

Wilson Sayre was born and bred in Raleigh, N.C., home of the only real barbecue in the country (we're talking East here). She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she studied Philosophy.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.