The New Jersey Supreme Court has rendered a decision that legal experts have identified as important for future sentencing. The Court ruled unanimously to redesign the way juveniles convicted of violent crimes will be sentenced, and these sentencing modifications include taking certain personal factors into consideration before determining lengthy sentences for juveniles convicted of violent crimes. This decision was not only unanimous but was also written by the Chief Justice of the Court, belying the singular importance of the underlying issue.
The Magnitude of the Decision
This change constitutes one of the most significant modifications to sentencing decisions to be made by the Court in many years. Additionally, the court went further by urging New Jersey Legislature to revamp current juvenile sentencing laws in an effort to avoid future potential constitutional challenges.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that children are different than adults and should be treated differently than adults are treated. Juveniles and their youthful characteristics must be carefully considered when it comes to sentencing them to life in prison without any hope for parole, which is what New Jersey’s long sentences of the past basically amounted to.
Supreme Court decisions illustrate that a number of sentencing factors must be taken into consideration, before sentencing a juvenile who is facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole:
- Level of maturity;
- Family functionality;
- Home environment;
- Family and peer pressure;
- Ability to function within the legal system; and
- Possibility of rehabilitation.
The Court refers to the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides protections for cruel and unusual punishment, and allows that these sentencing factors must be considered whenever a juvenile is sentenced to a lengthy prison stay – and not just when facing life sentences without the possibility of parole.
If you or your child has been accused of a juvenile crime, help is available.
Call 732-238-8686 Today for More Information
If you or your child has been accused of a juvenile crime, you should contact an experienced attorney with much experience in juvenile law. Juvenile attorney David C. Barry is committed to fighting for your future. As a juvenile attorney, David can help frame and contextualize the crime within the context of the latest scientific research on brain development. This rigorous investigation can lead in different directions, including to a vigorous defense or to important and necessary mental-health services.
To schedule a free consultation with New Jersey juvenile lawyer David C. Barry, call our office today at 732-238-8686 or send us an email through our online contact form.