Juvenile Law

| Aug 19, 2010 | Criminal Defense |

In Meadoux v. State, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had to decide the issue of whether the assessment of a sentence of life without parole to a juvenile for the crime of capital murder constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This case, and perhaps others in the appellate pipeline, may be remanded to the various lower courts to consider the issue in light of Graham v. Florida, a U.S. Supreme Court case.  In Graham, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Florida statute that provided life without parole to some non-homicide cases.  The question left unanswered is whether homicide cases will also be affected.  Texas cases that are in the window between the life without parole provision will be the primary cases affected by Graham.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals may decide this question itself, or it may remand for further consideration.
This area of juvenile law is not yet settled, and the question remains in the air.