The U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases from Florida that ask whether sentencing juveniles to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole violates the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Arguments on behalf of the juveniles referenced the landmark Roper v. Simmons decision, in which the Court prohibited the death penalty for juvenile offenders. Citing the findings of the MacArthur Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, the justices recognized that children are developmentally different than adults and, therefore, less culpable than adult offenders. In the current cases, friend of the court briefs argue that the same reasoning should apply to life imprisonment for juveniles. The cases received widespread coverage in media outlets including The New York Timesand National Public Radio.
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