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SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA

Docket No.: 08-7621
Certiorari Granted: May 4 2009
Argued: November 9, 2009
Decided: May 17, 2010

Topics:

Eighth Amendment, antitrust, capital murder, habeas, habeas corpus, murder

PartyNames: Joe Harris Sullivan v. Florida
Petitioner: Joe Harris Sullivan
Respondent: Florida

Court Below: District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District
Citation: 1D07-6433

Joe Harris Sullivan
v.
Florida
Background:

Joe Sullivan is serving a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a non-homicide offense committed when he was thirteen years old. Nationwide, only one other thirteen-year-old child has received a life-without-parole sentence for a non-homicide.

Question Presented:

1. Does imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on a thirteen-year-old for a non-homicide violate the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, where the freakishly rare imposition of such a sentence reflects a national consensus on the reduced criminal culpability of children? 2. Given the extreme rarity of a life imprisonment without parole sentence imposed on a 13-year-old child for a non-homicide and the unavailability of substantive review in any other federal court, should this Court grant review of a recently evolved Eighth Amendment claim where the state court has refused to do so?

Question:

Does the imposition of a life sentence without parole on a 13 year old convicted of a non-homicidal offense violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments' prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment?"

SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA
ORAL ARGUMENT

November 9, 2009

Holding: dismissed
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By: Per Curiam
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