Montgomery v. Louisiana could affect the fates of prisoners sentenced to life without parole as juveniles.
Back in 2012, the high court decided in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for young people who committed their crimes as juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment. The court left open the possibility that life sentences could be on the table if the sentencing judge carefully considered a host of factors that took the offender’s age into account, “among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences.” Following Miller, some state courts or legislatures opted to re-examine LWOP sentences. Fourteen state supreme courts decided to apply Miller retroactively. Seven and some federal appeals courts don’t think it looks backward.