Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Katharine M. Janes has posted Life or Death: Employing State Constitutional Principles of Proportionality to Combat the Extreme Sentencing of Emerging Adults (Virginia Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Emerging neuroscientific research strongly indicates that the immaturity, impressionability, and corrigibility of juveniles are also characteristics of emerging adults, defined here as individuals ages eighteen through twenty. Courts, however, have consistently resisted extending Federal Eighth Amendment protections to this demographic. As such, this Note proposes challenging the extreme sentencing of emerging adults as disproportionate under state, instead of federal, constitutional law. All fifty states prohibit cruel and/or unusual punishment, or its equivalent, in their state constitution. Further, recent litigation in Washington and Illinois demonstrates how successful challenges to disproportionate emerging-adult sentencing under state constitutional law can be achieved. This Note advocates that litigants launch facial challenges, in particular, under state constitutional provisions as a desirable mechanism for change.