State v. Comer

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s holding in these consolidated cases will enact a seismic change in the sentencing of juveniles convicted of murder in the Garden State. Two juveniles were sentenced under a statute that required them to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison with no possibility of parole. The Court assessed that sentencing scheme to determine if the punishment violated the State Constitution. The Court reversed and remanded the convictions. The Court ruled that juvenile offenders convicted under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(b)(1) may petition for a review of their sentence after they have served two decades in prison. Then, judges will assess a series of factors designed to consider the “mitigating qualities of youth” that the United States Supreme Court outlined in Miller v. Alabama.

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