Published on: Monday, June 12, 2017

In a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court addressed whether a Virginia court's decision that its geriatric release program (allowing for consideration for release of persons 60 years or older meeting certain conditions) satisfied Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010)(requiring an opportunity for parole for juvenile offenders convicted of a nonhomicide offense), was objectively unreasonable under 28 U. S. C. § 2254(d)(1). In other words, the Supreme Court addressed whether the state court’s ruling “was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Under this difficult standard, the Supreme Court held that the Virginia court's decision was not objectively unreasonable. The Court expressed no view on the merits of the underlying Eighth Amendment claim (i.e., whether the Virginia court's decision was wrong). 

For a copy of the opinion, Virginia v. LeBlanc, No. 16-1171, click here.