41 N. Ky. L. Rev. 187 (2014)
Kids Are Different: Using Supreme Court Jurisprudence about Child Development to Close the Juvenile Court Doors to Minor Offenders

handle is hein.journals/nkenlr41 and id is 203 raw text is: KIDS ARE DIFFERENT: USING SUPREME COURT
JURISPRUDENCE ABOUT CHILD DEVELOPMENT TO CLOSE THE
JUVENILE COURT DOORS TO MINOR OFFENDERS
Kimberly P. Jordan*
I. INTRODUCTION
Over the last decade, the Supreme Court has developed a line of
jurisprudence acknowledging the major differences in the way children and
adults make decisions and react to stressful situations. The Court's reasoning and
use of developmental science in Roper,' Graham,2 Miller,3 and J.D.B.4 have
changed the way that courts and legislatures will address sentencing for young
people in the future. Rather than treat teenagers like small adults, the Court has
mandated that the criminal justice system and police officers take into account
the fact that teenagers' brains do not process information in the same way as
adults'. Because of their reduced culpability in committing crimes, says the
Court, kids are not eligible, carte blanch, to receive the harshest punishments our
system has to offer.
For those youths already subject to long sentences, the impact of these cases
continues to play out.s For the majority of juveniles involved with the criminal
justice system, however, the kids are different reasoning has been under-
* Director, Justice for Children Project & Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Moritz
College of Law, The Ohio State University. I would like to thank the Law Review at the Chase
College of Law for the opportunity to present a version of this paper at its Symposium: Juvenile
Justice: Law, Policy, and Opportunities for Reform. I also thank the Junior Faculty Workshop at
the Moritz College of Law, Amy Halbrook, and Amna Akbar for supporting this project.
1. See generally Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) (determining that the death penalty
is disproportionate punishment for offenders who committed offense before attaining age 18).
2. See generally Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010) (holding the 8th Amendment does
not allow a juvenile to be imprisoned for life without parole for non-homicide offense).
3. See generally Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012) (holding that sentencing a
juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole without considering the mitigating
factors of youth is cruel and unusual punishment).
4. See generally J.D.B. v. North Carolina, 131 S. Ct. 2394 (2011) (considering what bearing a
child's age has on the reading of Miranda rights).
5. Life Without Parole for Juveniles: States and Courts Weigh In, THE PEW CHARITABLE
TRUSTS (Aug. 26, 2013), http://www.pewstates.org/research/data-visualizations/life-without-parole-
for-juveniles-states-and-courts-weigh-in-85899500114# (showing how states have responded to
Graham and Miller in terms of retroactivity and court v. legislative response). States have differed
in their response to Miller. Some states have legislatively taken the juvenile life without parole
option off the table. See James Swift, Miller v. Alabama: One Year Later, available at
http://jjie.org/miller-v-alabama-one-year-later/. California, Wyoming and Delaware are among that
group. Id. Other state courts have considered the issue, and have differed on whether Miller should
apply retroactively. See e.g., Chambers v. State of Minn., 831 N.W.2d 311 (2013) (holding Miller
not retroactive on post-conviction appeal); but see People v. Davis, 2014 IL 115595 (2014)
(holding that Miller retroactively applies on postconviction review).

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