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Latest News: Amicus Curiae Activity

State of Missouri v. Jerri Smiley

Monday, August 24, 2015  
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Court: Supreme Court of Missouri

Topic: Mandatory Incarceration for Youth


16-year-old Jerri Smiley was charged as an adult under the Missouri Armed Criminal Action statute, which mandates a punishment of imprisonment for at least three years. The Greene County Circuit Court held that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to juveniles, and the State appealed. This brief argues that precedent requiring courts to consider juveniles’ lesser criminal culpability in sentencing, as established by the United States Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama, calls for the conclusion in the present case that mandatory incarceration provisions violate juveniles’ substantive right to be sentenced based on their culpability and are therefore unconstitutional when applied to youth. The brief bolsters its position by considering public policy concerns regarding the heightened risk juveniles face when incarcerated, specifically in adult correctional facilities.

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