For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Molly Kaplan, ACLU national,

ACLU Responds to Decision in Miller/Jackson

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled today that juveniles convicted of murder cannot be subject to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Twenty nine states currently have such laws. The Court’s rulings in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs build on a decision two years ago that juveniles could not be sentenced under any circumstances to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for non-homicide offenses. Even when convicted of murder, the Court said today, judges must be allowed to take a juvenile’s age into account (along with other relevant circumstances) in deciding the appropriate punishment. The Court specifically noted, moreover, that “appropriate occasions for sentencing juveniles to this harshest penalty will be uncommon.”

“Today’s decision helps to restore some rationality to the treatment of juveniles in our criminal justice system," said Steven R. Shapiro, ACLU national legal director. "Surely, it is not too much to expect that judges will at least consider the fact that a 14 year old is standing before them when deciding whether to impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, even in murder cases. The Court correctly held that laws forbidding such informed discretion before sentencing children to die in prison are unconstitutional. They also defy common sense.”


FRIENDS: Now More Than Ever

Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Common DreamsSupport Common Dreams

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Share This Article

More in: