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. ยง 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.

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