Jones v. Mississippi (April 2021)
RULING: THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE A FINDING THAT A JUVENILE IS PERMANENTLY INCORRIGIBLE BEFORE IMPOSING A LWOP SENTENCE.
Brett Jones received a sentence of life without parole (LWOP) at the age of 15. After Miller was decided, which prohibited mandatory juvenile LWOP sentences, Jones had a resentencing hearing where he received LWOP again. Jones argued Miller requires the sentencer to determine whether he is “permanently incorrigible” before sentencing him to LWOP. The United States Supreme Court relied on Montgomery v. Louisiana to determine Miller does not require a finding of incorrigibility or an on the record sentencing explanation. Rather, a “state’s discretionary sentencing system is both constitutionally necessary and constitutionally sufficient.” Miller only requires “considering an offender’s youth and attendant characteristics—before imposing a life without parole sentence.”