Questioning Life Imprisonment for a Juvenile
Criminal cases where a minor is an offender may or may not resemble a case involving an adult. However, one specific right common to all defendants is the right to protection from ‘cruel and unusual punishments’, as per the directives of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution.
It is better to consult a criminal lawyer to understand whether a certain punishment for a juvenile is cruel and unusual, and therefore, disproportionate. He/she would also be able to help you approach the case accordingly. The abolition of the death penalty for a juvenile in a criminal case by the American legal system was a benchmark in this regard.
The next big question – is life imprisonment a cruel and unusual punishment for a juvenile? Significant decisions by the US Courts show that the answer depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
Before you delve into this, it is necessary to understand what constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment. The factors that make a criminal case judgment cruel and unusual, as per the dictates of the Supreme Court are as follows –
* If it was an arbitrarily handed out punishment
* If it was out of proportion to the offense in question
* If it was a practice rejected by society
The objective of the juvenile criminal laws of Florida is to provide an opportunity for the offender to rectify his/her mistakes. This is the reason rehabilitation forms a major part of this system. If the punishment is life imprisonment without any chance for parole, the offender is doomed to die in prison.
In case the juvenile’s case does not involve killing another, life imprisonment may be a cruel and unusual decision. The court may order life imprisonment for a juvenile only if he/she is a threat to society. The only reason for this is to keep him/her away from doing any more harm, to himself/herself or to another.
Whether it is a minor charge or a major one, it is better to get in touch with a Miami lawyer immediately. Legal assistance at the right time may help a juvenile offender get an alternative arrangement, like probation and counseling, instead of serving a sentence at a state correctional facility for life.
Consult a good criminal lawyer to ensure proper legal consultation and representation. After all, this would be a determining factor in the outcome of the case, which may have a permanent impact on the life of the minor.