Building on our earlier amicus work before the U.S. Supreme Court, this week the Houston Institute joined a coalition to argue that juvenile life without parole sentences violate the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Our coalition includes the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts, Citizens for Juvenile Justice, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, the Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and individuals including more than a dozen law professors and experts. We argue that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court should step beyond Miller v. Alabama, and find as a categorical matter that all life without parole sentences for juveniles violate art. 26 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Such sentences should not just be “uncommon” in Massachusetts. They should be unconstitutional, and therefore impossible.
Read our brief: