Editorial: Mandatory Juvenile Sentencing - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Editorial: Mandatory Juvenile Sentencing

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday limiting the use of mandatory life sentencing without parole for those under the age of 18 convicted of murder, ruling that judges must consider the defendant's youth and the nature of the crime before putting them behind bars for life with no hope for parole.

Alabama is one of twenty-six states that imposed mandatory life sentences without parole for convicted murderers and applied this policy to individuals as young as 14 years old; the subject of the case brought before the Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama was a convicted murderer age 14 years old.

Note that the court didn't say it was unconstitutional for children to receive the punishment of life in prison; it just said that, in event of a crime in which the mandatory minimum sentence is life without parole, states would give serious consideration of the child's age and circumstances of the crime before sending them to jail forever without the possibility of parole.

By no means do we now think there will be an uptick in murders enacted by those under the age of 18 due to the ruling and we support the court's continued ability to sentence a murderer to life without parole regardless of age if the circumstances warrant.  By the way, selfishly taking another humans life just happens to be one of those circumstances - whether you're fourteen or one hundred.

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