In general, yes, it is possible for a juvenile to receive a life sentence; however, the US Supreme Court recently ruled it is unconstitutional to mandate life without parole for a juvenile. Now more than ever, it is critical to seek the defense of an experienced attorney if police charge your child with a serious crime.
Life in prison without the possibility of release is a serious sentence for a child. Almost 1,600 people are currently serving life sentences without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. Mandatory minimums of life-without-parole ignore how the child’s history, family life, developing brain and extenuating circumstances may have contributed to the crime. Oftentimes, juveniles charged with crimes are first-time offenders.
This past June, the US Supreme Court ruled mandatory life without parole for juveniles is unconstitutional. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion, which stated that a judge or jury must consider mitigating circumstances before automatically imposing life without the possibility of parole for minors charged with a crime.
Life without parole is still a possibility for certain juvenile crimes, but not a given in any case, according to the Supreme Court ruling.
If your child has been charged with a crime, please contact the Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a consultation with our experienced defense attorneys, serving West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas.