Miller Vs Alabama Case Study

1783 Words8 Pages
Miller v. Alabama One decision can change an adult’s whole life. Should one decision also impact a child’s in the same way? In Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court had to determine if laws geared towards adults were constitutional if applied to minors. With a 5-4 split decision, each Supreme Court Justice had to deeply evaluate and compare their morals with the country’s. In July of 2003, fourteen-year-old Evan Miller and his friend Colby Smith were just relaxing at Miller’s home when Miller’s neighbor, 52-year-old Cole Cannon came by to make a drug deal with Miller’s mother (“Certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama” par. 19; Smith par. 3). All three went back to Cannon’s trailer next door and proceeded to smoke marijuana and…show more content…
According to this ruling, children are “more vulnerable… to negative influences and outside pressures.” Minors have limited control over their own environment. This ruling made Miller’s (as well as Jackson’s) mitigating factors a vital component to the Supreme Court’s ruling (“Certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama” par. 6). Davis 4 Evan Miller’s counsel filed a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court, and the Court granted review in November of 2011 after denied appeals on the Alabama state level (Swift par. 2). After almost eight months of deliberation, a 5-4 majority vote lead by Justice Elena Kagan reversed the Arkansas and Alabama Supreme Court decisions on June 25, 2012 (“Miller v. Alabama par. 7; par. 13). The ruling was based on the fact that the Eighth Amendment “guarantees individuals the right not to be subjected to excessive sanctions”, and that right flows from the basic ‘precept of justice that punishment for crimes should be graduated and proportioned’ to both the offender and offense (“Certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama” par. 5). Justice Kagan stated the following in response to Miller’s mitigating factors and youth (further strengthening the decision of Roper v.…show more content…
It prevents taking into account the family and home environment that surrounds him of from where he cannot usually extricate himself, no matter how brutal or dysfunctional (Hoffman par. 7-10). The majority of the court, consisting of Justices Ruth Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Anthony Kennedy, agreed with Kagan (Hoffman par. 2). Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion that additional determination that the offender actually killed or intended to kill the robbery victim in Jackson’s case was needed, for without such information, the state could not pursue a mandatory life sentence. Justice Sotomayor agreed (“Miller v. Alabama” par. 14). This ruling gave children with mitigating forces the opportunity to bring forward such factors that may have contributed to their actions (Swift par.

More about Miller Vs Alabama Case Study

Open Document