« How should overdose deaths factor into any sentencing of the "offense" of drug distribution? | Main | Reviewing class plans and readings/prep for our Zoom visit from Jonathan Wroblewski on Nov 10 »

November 3, 2020

Listen to (and log time on) oral argument in Jones v. Mississippi

I found as a useful distraction the morning of 2020 Election Day listening to the oral argument in Jones v. Mississippi18-1259 All the Justices had lots of interesting and hard questions concerning the issue of whether the Eighth Amendment requires a sentencer to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole.

And you can now LISTEN to the Jones oral argument HERE.

November 3, 2020 in SCOTUS cases of note, Supreme Court rulings, Who decides | Permalink


I know I'm a little late to comment on this but while I'm not a fan of Juvenile LWOP, I'm skeptical that Jones' attorney's ask that judges show that they have "considered incorrigibility" would actually make a difference in how sentencing is decided in these cases.

This reminds me of our class hypothetical, "Ohio Racial Justice in Sentencing Act" which would have required that prosecutors show that racial bias was not a factor in seeking the death penalty. Just as was the problem we identified with the ORJS, as long as the defendant is found to have committed a murder with aggravating factors at play, it seems like it would be easy for a judge just to point to the facts of the crime and say for example, "anyone who could stab their own grandfather to death is incorrigible." There, incorrigiblity considered. Like the prosecutors in our hypothetical legislation could have said, "we are seeking the death penalty because the defendant tortured his victim, and she was a young woman, these aggravating factors count for the death penalty, race was not a factor". If SCOUTUS finds for Jones, I think their ruling would have to include some pretty specific judicial methodology for how incorrigibility is to be assessed for it to have the desired impact. And I don't think we would get that even in a liberal opinion.

Posted by: Lindsey S. | Nov 10, 2020 7:11:04 PM

**SCOTUS, sorry, embarrassing typo.

Posted by: Lindsey S. | Nov 10, 2020 7:13:40 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.