Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Graham v. Florida; Sullivan v. Florida

In Graham v. Florida the Supreme Court of the United States found the sentence of juvenile life without parole to be unconstitutional in non-homicide cases.

Juvenile Law Center served as lead counsel for more than 65 advocacy organizations and individuals who submitted one of several amicus briefs in support of Graham.

Graham involved a challenge to a sentence of life without parole imposed on a 16-year-old convicted of violating his probation following a conviction for robbery. In ruling that such a sentence is categorically unconstitutional for any juvenile convicted of a non-homicide crime, the Court noted that while juveniles are not absolved of their responsibility for their crimes, “the limited culpability of such offenders and the severity of these sentences all lead the Court to conclude that the sentencing practice at issue is cruel and unusual.” The Court continued, “A life without parole sentence improperly denies the juvenile offender a chance to demonstrate growth and maturity.”


Graham v. Florida

Sullivan v. Florida

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