Four more October 2017 Maryland certiorari grants include three juvenile life sentences

The Maryland Court of Appeals has posted four additional certiorari grants following yesterday’s monthly conference. Three of them involve challenges to juvenile life sentences (including a dispute whether a 100-year sentence counts as a life sentence). The full list, including questions presented, appears after the jump.

James E. Bowie v. State of Maryland– Case No. 55, September Term, 2017

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Does a juvenile nonhomicide inmate have standing to challenge his life sentence under Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), and its progeny? 2) Are life sentences for nonhomicide crimes committed by a child unconstitutional because Md. Law does not afford the “meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation” required by Graham?

Daniel Carter v. State of Maryland– Case No. 54, September Term, 2017

Issue – Criminal Procedure – 1) Does a juvenile homicide inmate have standing to challenge a life sentence he is presently serving based on Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), on the theory that the sentence does not afford him a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation and the sentencing judge did not comply with the process set forth by those cases to insure that such a sentence is only imposed on the rare incorrigible juvenile offender, and is such a challenge ripe for review? 2) Do life sentences imposed on juvenile offenders in Md. afford them a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation? 3) If so, did the sentencing judge consider the distinctive and mitigating aspects of youth in the manner required by Miller and Montgomery (and made retroactive by the latter) to ensure that such a sentence was imposed only on the rare incorrigible juvenile homicide offender?

Matthew Timothy McCullough v. State of Maryland– Case No. 56, September Term, 2017

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Does the reasoning of Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), and its progeny apply to a 100-year sentence that is the aggregate of shorter sentences for multiple crimes committed during the same incident? 2) If so, did the 100-year sentence in this case afford the juvenile nonhomicide offender the “meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation” required by Graham? 3) May challenges to parole policies be raised as a Motion to Correct an Illegal Sentence?

State of Maryland v. Phillip James Clements– Case No. 57, September Term, 2017

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Did CSA err in dismissing Petitioner’s appeal? 2) Did the trial court err in considering, and granting, Respondent’s motion to set aside an “illegal” sentence?

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