Despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that Florida’s practice of sentencing juveniles to life for nonmurder crimes is unconstitutional, Florida’s many juvenile prisoners have not seen much mercy.
Instead, several juveniles have been re-sentenced to terms that still amount to life sentences, The Lakeland Ledger reports.
One such case is that of Kenneth Young, who, as a 15-year-old, was sentenced to four life sentences for armed robberies in the Tampa Bay area.
The Ledger reports:
Young, now 25, was 14 and living in Tampa when he said was coerced by a crack dealer who was involved with Young’s mother to help him in a series of hotel robberies. When he was 15, Young was sentenced to four life terms in prison for armed robbery, even though there were questions whether even the judge understood he was putting the young man away for life.
Lawyers are asking state officials to consider Young’s case in Gov. Crist’s last Clemency Board meeting, which is set for Dec. 9.
Young’s case has received little attention. Crist’s decision to pardon the late Jim Morrison of the rock band The Doors for profanity and indecent exposure, meanwhile, has grabbed headlines.
According to Ledger, legal experts say there are at least 116 prisoners in similar situations as Young. Florida has given such sentences to more juveniles than all other states combined.
In May the Supreme Court ruled that these sentences violate the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.