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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

SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA
Case Documents

1SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
2SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
3Opinion in SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA
4SULLIVAN v. FLORIDA Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
Additional documents for this case are pending review.