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September 29, 2020

Which of the amicus briefs in Jones v. Mississippi do you find especially effective or interesting?

As I mentioned in class today, I think the case of Jones v. Mississippi presents an important opportunity for the Supreme Court, and especially the newer Justices, to address the application of the Eighth Amendment to juvenile murders.  Here is the official question presented:

Whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole. 

As highlighted by the many links below, there is a lot of friendly interest in this case as expressed in a sizable number of friends of the court briefs.  Though I do not expect anyone to read carefully all (or even many or even any) of the briefs linked below, you might be interested in clicking through to check out some of the groups being friendly and the friendly advice they are giving to the Justices.

As suggested in the title of this post, if you have time and interest, I would be eager to hear whether you find any of the amicus briefs especially effective or interesting.


Briefs on behalf of Brett Jones

Brief of petitioner Brett Jones

Brief amici curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, et al.

Brief amici curiae of Juvenile Law Center, et al.

Brief amici curiae of Madge Jones, Tony Jones, Marty Jones and Nicolle Olson

Brief amici curiae of The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, The ACLU of Mississippi, The American Conservative Union Foundation, The Rutherford Institute, The R Street Institute, and Larry W. Yackle

Brief amici curiae of Erwin Chemerinsky, et al.

Brief amici curiae of Current and Former Prosecutors, Department of Justice Officials, and Judges

Brief amicus curiae of The American Bar Association


Briefs on behalf of neither party

Brief amicus curiae of Jonathan F. Mitchell & Adam K. Mortara in support of neither party


Briefs on behalf of Mississippi

Brief of respondent Mississippi

Brief amicus curiae of United States

Brief amici curiae of State of Indiana, et al.

Brief amicus curiae of Populi

Brief amicus curiae of Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

Brief amici curiae of National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Murderers, et al.

September 29, 2020 in SCOTUS cases of note | Permalink


I found the BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE AMICUS POPULI IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENT particularly interesting. I thought the reasoning was questionable in many spots. For example, they argue that: "Sentencing based on projections regarding future behavior contradicts the very premise of rehabilitative punishment, which developed with special focus on the juvenile offender. An indispensable component of rehabilitation is the indeterminate sentence, whereby the ultimate term of imprisonment is decided not by judges or juries, at the time of conviction, but correctional officers, upon successful completion of the rehabilitation process." (citations omitted).

I wasn't certain how or why they thought this argument was a strong one to support not requiring a higher standard before sentencing a juvenile to LWOP? Instead it felt more to me like an argument for getting rid of JLWOP entirely. (And LWOP, for that matter?)

I understand that they're saying the judge should only look at objective factors that are "discernible at the time of sentencing," I just don't know where they think that leaves their rehabilitation argument.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't point out this bold final sentence: "States should try to prevent false positives, which deprive the guilty of liberty, but may place a higher priority on preventing false negatives, which deprive the innocent of life."

Posted by: Meg B. | Sep 30, 2020 11:59:55 PM

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