On Monday, June 25, 2012, Justice Kagan announced the opinion for the Court in Miller v. Alabama
and Jackson v. Hobbs, holding in a five-to-four vote, that “the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders.”
In footnote 5 of the opinion, the Court notes: “The evidence presented to us in these cases indicates that the science and social science supporting Roper’s and Graham’s conclusions have become even stronger. See, e.g., Brief for American Psychological Association et al. as Amici Curiae 3 (“[A]n ever-growing body of research in developmental psychology and neuroscience continues to confirm and strengthen the Court’s conclusions”); id., at 4 (“It is increasingly clear that adolescent brains are not yet fully mature in regions and systems related to higher-order executive functions such as impulse control, planning ahead, and risk avoidance”); Brief for J. Lawrence Aber et al. as Amici Curiae 12–28 (discussing post-Graham studies); id., at 26–27 (“Numerous studies post-Graham indicate that exposure to deviant peers leads to increased deviant behavior and is a consistent predictor of adolescent delinquency” (footnote omitted))”.
The Court also mentions work by MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience Members, Larry Steinberg and Elizabeth Scott (“Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence: Developmental Immaturity, Diminished Responsibility, and the Juvenile Death Penalty, 58 Am. Psychologist 1009, 1014 (2003)”) on page 8 in a discussion of Roper.
Link to the Supreme Court Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-9646g2i8.pdf
and check your regular news sources for this week’s extensive coverage of the opinion.