Sulllivan v. Florida
Sentencing, Criminal law and procedure
Joe Sullivan is serving a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a non-homicide offense committed when he was thirteen years old. Nationwide, only one other thirteen-year-old child has received a life-without-parole sentence for a non-homicide. The questions presented are:
1. Does imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on a thirteen-year-old for a non-homicide violate the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, where the freakishly rare imposition of such a sentence reflects a national consensus on the reduced criminal culpability of children?
2. Given the extreme rarity of a life imprisonment without parole sentence imposed on a 13-year-old child for a non-homicide and the unavailability of substantive review in any other federal court, should this Court grant review of a recently evolved Eighth Amendment claim where the state court has refused to do so?
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