News on Juvenile Life Without Parole:
Is 100 Years a Life Sentence? Opinions Are Divided
By ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times
WASHINGTON — If people who are too young to vote commit crimes short of murder, the Supreme Court said in 2010, they should not be sentenced to die in prison.
That sounds straightforward enough. But there are two ways to understand the decision, Graham v. Florida.
One is formal. The court may have meant only to bar sentences labeled “life without parole.” On that understanding, judges remained free to impose very long sentences — 100 years, say — as long as they were for a fixed term rather than for life.