The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has delivered a Christmas present to about 63 convicts who were sentenced to prison for life when they were juveniles – which, prior to earlier this year, meant age 17 and under. The court barred life sentences without parole for juveniles yesterday (Tuesday, December 24,) ruling that scientific research demonstrates that juvenile brains are “not fully developed,” and therefore that sentences of life in prison with no possibility of parole constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment”, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
As a Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, I have some thoughts about this. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow, but for now, what I want to say to my readers is this: May the sentiment of goodwill toward man and peace toward others sink into people’s hearts long after this day and this season passes. Too much suffering abides this world.