Organized medicine files brief in juvenile sentencing case
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 23, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment prohibits states from imposing life sentences without possibility of parole on juveniles convicted of nonhomicidal crimes.
The case stems from actions in Florida in which authorities, in two separate cases, convicted a 13- and a 16-year-old of sexual battery and attempted armed robbery, respectively. The teens were sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry jointly filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging justices to consider scientific research showing that adolescents generally are not capable of the same rational behavior and decision-making as are adults. Oral arguments in Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida began Nov. 9.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/11/23/prbf1123.htm.