Fla. Supreme Court Could Rule on Imprisoning Juveniles for Life

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's highest court may consider whether U.S. Supreme Court decisions banning automatic life sentences without parole for people under 18 should be retroactive.

A 1st District Court of Appeals panel this week certified the question to the Florida Supreme Court.

The judges affirmed the case against a woman sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment for a 1999 murder she committed at the age of 15.

But they agreed that federal and state courts have been divided on whether to apply the new rule retroactively.

The U.S. Supreme Court said mandatory life-without-parole sentences imposed on those under 18 at the time of the crime are unconstitutional. Florida courts have declined to apply that rule retroactively.

The appellate judges asked the state Supreme Court to decide the rule for Florida cases.

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