The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that teenagers may not be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if they haven’t killed anyone, according to the Associated Press and other news outlets.
In a 5-4 vote Monday, the court said the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution barring cruel and unusual punishment requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release. Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor voted in the affirmative. Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. opposed the majority. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voted with the majority in the specific case but not with the overall opinion as it applies to all young offenders who are serving life sentences for crimes other than murder.