On this day last year the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a law permitting juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to Jurist.law.
The defendant, Kenneth Loggins, was initially sentenced to death after he was convicted of murdering a hitchhiker back in 1994. He was 17 at the time that he committed the murder at issue.
His capital punishment sentence was later overturned by the United States Supreme Court in the case Roper v. Simmons. There, the court decided that minors could not receive the death penalty for capital crimes because it violated the 8th Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment" as incoporated through the 14th amendment against the states.
In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy the court cited a consensus among state legislatures against capital punishment, an overwhelming international opinion against the death penalty and its own determination that it was a disproportionate punishment for minors in rendering its decision.
Loggins appealed the sentenced issued by the 11th Circuit, arguing that life in prison without parole constituted cruel and unusual punishment. In June of this year the high court ruled that mandatory life without parole for minors also violated the 8th Amendment, striking down some 28 existing state laws mandating life without parole for convicted murders.
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