Supreme Court May Review Life Sentence Given to 13-Year-Old

What crime would a 13-year-old have to commit to warrant a life sentence? For Joe Sullivan, a conviction for raping a 72-year-old woman was good enough. Twenty years later, his lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to throw out the sentence as cruel and unusual punishment.


The New York Times reports that only eight people in the world are serving life sentences for a crime committed at the age of 13, and all of them are in the United States.

When striking down the death penalty for teenagers in 2005, the Supreme Court said that compared to adults, teens are less mature, more impulsive, more susceptible to peer pressure and more likely to change for the better over time. Do you think the same logic should be used to abolish life sentences for teens, giving Joe Sullivan a chance to someday appeal to the parole board?

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