The Indiana Supreme Court decided two cases on June 2, 2014, each of which significantly reduced the sentences for two juveniles who were each convicted of two counts of murder and one count of robbery. The original sentences for each juvenile was 150 years of incarceration, which was the maximum possible sentence. The new sentences are eighty-five (85) years for Fuller and eighty (80) years for Brown. Fuller was fifteen at the time of the event, while Brown was sixteen years old.
In the decisions, the Court noted the U.S. Supreme Court cases that have laid the roadmap for age as a consideration in sentencing — “that juveniles are less culpable than adults and therefore are less deserving of the most severe punishments.” See, Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), and Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).
The Court also stated that to give the maximum sentence, essentially “‘means denial of hope; it means that good behavior and character improvement are immaterial; it means that whatever the future might hold in store for the mind and spirit of the [juvenile] convict, he will remain in prison for the rest of his days.’” Graham, 560 U.S. 70 (quoting Naovarath v. State, 779 P.2d 944, 944 (Nev. 1989)).”
The Fuller decision is available here.
The Brown decision is available here.