SCOTUS: Florida handed out cruel & unusal sentences

The Supreme Court today ruled that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole for nonhomocide crimes. Good. How does Florida fit in the picture? Seventy-seven of the 129 American juveniles sentenced to LWOP are in Florida. Either Florida’s teens are the most evil in the nation or something in the CJS is wrong. Today it’s slightly less wrong.

Fun fact: Florida eliminated parole in 1983.

Update: I’m hesitantly changing my mind on this decision. I think good will come of the attention it (and FL’s CJS) receives, but I don’t think it was necessarily correct. Whether the victim(s) of a crime happen to all survive—even if left for dead—is as much an arbitrary delimiter as whether the offender was just shy of 18 when the crime was committed. The case before the court presented one of the obvious examples of FL’s sentencing inflation, but the decision isn’t going to fix that. FL prosecutors can continue to request just barely short of life sentences. If anything will “fix” it, it’ll be the cost of continuing to build prisons.

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