Juvenile facing life with no parole

Posted by: Sherri Burnett-James - bio | email

Washington (AP) - The supreme court is considering whether sentencing a juvenile to life in prison with no chance of parole is cruel and unusual punishment, particularly if the crime is less serious than homicide.

The cases being heard Monday involve two Florida convicts. Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman when he was 13. Terrance graham was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17.

Graham, now 22, and Sullivan, now 33, are in Florida prisons, which hold more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for crimes other than homicide.

Lawyers for graham and Sullivan argue that it is a bad idea to render a final judgment about people so young.

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