Life-Without-Parole Sentence for Under-18 Offender Unconstitutional, When the Crime Is Not Homicide

So holds the Court, by a 6-3 vote, in Graham v. Florida. Hope to have more later today, when I’ve read the opinions, but here’s one item that’s likely to be quite controversial: The majority opinion (Justice Kennedy writing for the four liberals and himself) has a subsection near the end that begins,

There is support for our conclusion in the fact that, in continuing to impose life without parole sentences on juveniles who did not commit homicide, the United States adheres to a sentencing practice rejected the world over.This observation does not control our decision. The judgments of other nations and the international community are not dispositive as to the meaning of the Eighth Amendment. But “‘[t]he climate of international opinion concerning the acceptability of a particular punishment’” is also “‘not irrelevant.’”

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