US Supreme Court’s Decision on Juvenile Life Sentences Could Impact 360 Florida Criminal Convictions

July 2, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

The United States Supreme Court has been in the news a lot recently – and not just for Obamacare. In a recent ruling, SCOTUS ruled that it’s unconstitutional for juvenile criminal offenders in Florida (and elsewhere) to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole… even for murder and other extremely serious crimes.

The Supreme Court issued a similar decision back in 2010, banning life sentences for juveniles convicted for non-homicides (e.g. robbery, rape, etc). This latest decision has the potential to cause the reopening of 360+ Florida criminal cases. Florida prosecutor and state representative Michael Weinstein (R-Jacksonville) had this to say: “Judges [in Florida] are in a box…because if they sentence the way our statutes require them to, the Supreme Court has said that's unconstitutional. If they sentence the way the Supreme Court wants them to, it violates the statutes."

Do note that the SCOTUS ruling still empowers Florida judges to hand out life without parole sentences to juvenile murderers… it's just that the defendant’s juvenile status must now be considered during sentencing.

Whether or not this ruling has any bearing on your upcoming Florida criminal case, understand the general principal here: Florida criminal law is in a constant state of evolution. The law is a living body of rules, influenced by multiple and diverse entities, including the United States and Florida Supreme Courts as well as the Florida legislature.

To protect your rights, you may need extensive and deeply informed legal counsel.

The Seltzer Law, PA, team is standing by, 24/7, to help you and your family understand what your charges mean and what you might be able to do to minimize your chances of punishment and maximize your chances of rehabilitation. Get a free consultation now by calling us at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-453-3333).