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Juvenile Justice

11th Circuit Upholds Life Sentences for Juveniles Convicted of Murder

Posted Sep 9, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court based in Atlanta has ruled that juveniles convicted of murder may be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) Wednesday in the case of Kenneth Loggins, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court barred sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of crimes other than murder. The court had noted a “global consensus” against such sentences in the opinion, Graham v. Florida.

The 11th Circuit ruling by Judge Ed Carnes said Graham does not lend support to Loggins’ quest to overturn his sentence. “The Supreme Court has never held, or even stated in dicta, that the Constitution bars a life without parole sentence for a juvenile convicted of murder,” Carnes wrote.

Carnes said more than 40 states permit life sentences for murders committed by juveniles, and the number of such sentences is increasing.

Loggins was convicted in the 1994 murder of hitchhiker Vickie Deblieux. He and three other friends were accused of beating the woman, and Loggins was accused of standing on her throat until she died.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Life Sentence for Defendant, 14”

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyers for Juvenile Lifers Convicted of Murder Urge Supreme Court to Overturn Sentences"

ABAJournal.com: "Supreme Court Says Life Sentence for Juveniles Not Charged with Murder Is Unconstitutional"

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