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Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Case on Juvenile Sentencing

July 9th, 2018 at 8:40 am

Illinois juvenile crimes, juvenile offenders, juvenile sentencing, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, federal constitution violationJuvenile crime should be taken seriously. Society does not want to teach young offenders that they can get away with whatever they want. However, there is a big difference in making sure that a young person knows what he or she did was wrong and sentencing him or her to life in prison. The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case to determine when the length of a sentence is “too much” for juvenile offenders.

Specifics of the Case

Dimitri Buffer was sentenced to 50 years in prison at the age of 16; 25 years for murder and 25 years for the use of a firearm. Following this sentencing, the United States Supreme Court decided the case Miller v. Alabama. In the case, the Court found that mandatory life sentences for juveniles without the chance for parole amount to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. There is evidence that the human brain develops past the first 20 years of life. This can reduce a juvenile’s culpability and ability to access the dangers and wrongdoing associated with crimes.

Buffer contends that his 50-year sentence violates the federal or state constitution. After the ruling in Miller, appellate courts across the country have been unsure of where to draw the line when it comes to juvenile sentencing and which sentences are too long. Buffer is now 25 years old with 41 years left on his sentence.

A study by Injustice Watch found that there are 167 juvenile offenders who are serving either life sentences, or sentences that are likely to result in only a few years of freedom before death after a release.

When Buffer’s case reached the Illinois Appeals Court, they found that the 50-year sentence violated the federal constitution because of the decision made by the Court in Miller. The appeals court determined that the average life expectancy for a prisoner like Buffer is approximately 64 years old. Adding 41 years to his current age of 25 takes him all the way to the age of 66 before release, beyond the life expectancy determined by the Court. In addition to an order for re-sentencing, Buffer, his family, and attorneys are asking that the Illinois Supreme Court try to provide some guidance on juvenile sentencing and when it is “too much.”

This is not the first time that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled on juvenile sentencing and when the length was too great.

Let Us Help You Today

If you or a loved one has committed a crime as a juvenile, you need a knowledgeable attorney. Experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help you. Attorney Cosley does not want one indiscretion made in someone’s youth to dictate his or her entire future. Contact us today to start getting the best defense possible.

Sources:

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2011/10-9646

https://www.injusticewatch.org/news/2018/illinois-supreme-court-to-consider-how-much-time-too-much-youth-crime/

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