It's been a couple of months since we last wrote about juvenile justice. In our September 25 post, we discussed the issue of cyberbulling and how that affects teenagers in the Internet age.
One of the themes we've been exploring in this blog is the way in which brain research and U.S. Supreme Court rulings are reshaping juvenile justice. Drawing on the field of brain research, the Supreme Court has made it increasingly clear that juvenile offenders should not receive mandatory sentences without a consideration of individual mitigating factors.
In a two-part post in early June, we discussed how recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have impacted the sentencing of juveniles. Under Miller v. Alabama, a Supreme Court case from last year, judges in Missouri and other states must make sure to consider mitigating factors when sentencing juveniles who are convicted of criminal offenses.
Teens in St. Louis face a lot of restrictions. Regulations exist in school, on the street and even strict rules over social media and cellphone use. Many of these rules could even lead to juvenile charges that have kids facing serious penalties in the juvenile justice system.
In Miller v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there cannot be automatic life sentences for juveniles. Even if a juvenile is convicted of murder, a judge must be able to take account of any mitigating factors before issuing a sentence.
We are paying close attention in this blog to issues involving juvenile sentencing. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it's a key topic in the law, with a recent line of U.S. Supreme Court cases establishing new principles to guide states in responding to juvenile crime.
In the first part of this post, on April 18, we discussed the broad effects that recent U.S. Supreme Court cases may have on the juvenile justice system throughout the nation. The Court has made clear that juveniles are not the same as adults and just receive individualized determinations when being sentenced for adult offenses.