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US Supreme Court Rules Out Juvenile Life Imprisonment without Parole

US-constitutionThe United States Supreme Court ruled Monday, May 17, that youth can no longer be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in cases other than murder.

Five of the justices believed that such a ruling is against the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution which bans cruel and unusual punishments, especially those that are excessive when compared to the crime or when compared to the competence of the perpetrator.

“A state need not guarantee the offender eventual release, but if it imposes a sentence of life it must provide him or her with some realistic opportunity to obtain release before the end of that term,” wrote associate justice Anthony Kennedy.

The United States is believed to be the only nation that allows life imprisonment for youth without parole. The federal government, the District of Columbia and 37 states practice such rulings.

The Supreme Court declared  that 129 youths are currently serving such sentences.