Oklahoma’s High Court Affirms Limitations on Sentencing Juvenile Offenders to Life in Prison
This blog post was written by Christopher Gambini, a Right on Crime research associate.
Recently, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court affirmed limitations on sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison. The court applied Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana to discretionary juvenile life without parole. In Miller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the sentencing of youth 17 years or younger was unconstitutional. Shortly after, the Court held in Montgomery that Miller applies retroactively. These rulings do not outright forbid juvenile life-without-parole. The Oklahoma Court of Appeals did require a finding which is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, more than 45 people committed in Oklahoma as juveniles will be afforded the opportunity for resentencing. Oklahoma has joined a growing number of states—such as Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina—that apply Miller and Montgomery to sentences of juvenile life without parole.