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AZ Court Upholds Juvenile Sentences Beyond Life Expectancy

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The Arizona Supreme Court ruled today that it’s not unconstitutional for a juvenile criminal defendant convicted of multiple crimes to be sentenced to what amounts to an aggregate prison sentence beyond life expectancy.

The justices’ unanimous decision upholds sentences for three inmates convicted in separate cases in Mohave and Pima counties. U.S. Supreme Court rulings restrict sentencing of juvenile defendants, including prohibiting the death sentence and mandatory life sentences without possibility of parole. Lawyers for the juvenile inmates in the Arizona cases Friday argued unsuccessfully that their clients received de facto life sentences violating the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

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