Miller in Federal District Court: What the Stories of Six Juvenile Lifers Reveal About the Need for New Federal Juvenile Sentencing Policy



After Montgomery v. Louisiana made Miller v. Alabama retroactive, a small group of juvenile homicide offenders in the federal system became eligible to be resentenced by federal district courts around the country. A review of six of these resentencing proceedings reveals that district courts lack appropriate guidance and are ultimately ill-suited to make these difficult resentencing decisions. Further, the lack of predictability in federal sentencing outcomes for juvenile offenders convicted of homicide presents challenges for present-day juveniles accused of homicide in the federal system. Accordingly, a wholesale revision of federal sentencing law and policy is necessary to effectuate Miller’s substantive guarantees.

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Megan G. Crane, Shobha L. Mahadev & Scott F. Main∞ The opportunity for release will be afforded to those who demonstrate the truth of Miller’s central intuition—that children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change. Children—even children who