Commonwealth v. Derrickson

In Commonwealth v. Derrickson, the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed claims made by a juvenile who had been serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. After he was re-sentenced to 30-years-to-life, Derrickson appealed. Among his novel arguments were: (1) that a mandatory life sentence — even with the possibility of parole — was cruel and unusual punishment, (2) that he should have been re-sentenced under the third-degree murder statute, and (3) that 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 1102.1 was illegal because the statute does not allow sentencing courts to craft individualized sentences. The Superior Court disagreed with each of Derrickson’s claims and affirmed.