In a 4-3 decision Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that juvenile sentences of 50 years or more for non-homicide crimes are unconstitutional in that they don’t give minors who are “constitutionally different from adults for purposes of sentencing” a reasonable chance for release during their lifetimes.
The defendants in the case, Leonel Contreras and William Rodriguez, were convicted of kidnapping and raping two teenage girls at knifepoint in 2011. Contreras and Rodriguez, both 16 at the time of the crimes, were charged in as adults and sentenced in 2012 to 58 years to life and 50 years to life, respectively.
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Graham v. Florida sentencing juveniles to life without parole (LWOP) for crimes other than murder constituted a violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
[For more on this story by Taylor Walker, go to http://witnessla.com/californi...is-unconstitutional/]