Court ruling could see juvenile violent offenders spend less time in jail

Published 3:04 am Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear editor,

The United States Supreme Court will hear two important and related cases on Nov. 9, Sullivan and Graham v Florida. These cases are sure to be the most high profile and closely watched criminal cases before the court this year.

If the Supreme Court were to accept their argument, it could endanger all long-term and life sentences legally across the nation for all violent juvenile offenders.

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Attorneys for Graham and Sullivan are asking the Supreme Court for the first time ever to say that incarceration alone is a violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. The 8th amendment has always and only ever been applied to torture and sometimes to executions, such as to the mentally ill. It has never been applied to long-term or life sentences for murder and other extremely violent acts.

I am searching for families in Alabama that might be affected by the court’s decision. If you are a family member or know of one that has a family member that has been a victim of a violent crime and the offender is serving a life sentence without parole, please contact me or visit the Web site,Victims of Offenders Sentenced to Juvenile Life W/P Parole

Mary Anne Rippey