Published on: Saturday, September 18, 2021

After the Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U. S. 460 (2012), ruled that life sentences without possibility of parole for crimes committed under the age of 18 are unconstitutional, Missouri officials began to offer that possibility. Class action: Parole board's policies and procedures fail to provide "meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity." Eighth Circuit: We agree. The state's policies and practices deprive the plaintiffs “of their Eighth Amendment right to a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based upon demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.” For instance, inmates are allowed one delegate at parole hearings, and the delegate is not permitted to speak about a range of subjects (like an inmate's efforts at rehabilitation) that the parole board must consider when making its decision. Victims and law enforcement, on the other hand, can speak with no limitations on subject matter.

The case is Brown v. Precythe, No. 19-2910 (8th Cir. Sept. 17, 2021).