MD Court of Appeals Deems Juvenile Life Sentences Constitutional

The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled 4-3 that the current law provides a “meaningful opportunity” for juvenile offenders to be released from a life sentence, according to the Associated Press.

The case cited Governor Hogan’s Executive Order 01.01.2018.06, which mandates that the governor takes into consideration age and behavior among other things for deciding if a juvenile offender serving a life sentence should receive parole¹

Since taking office, our administration has sought to bring balance to Maryland’s criminal justice system, which includes offering individuals who have paid their debt to society a second chance to live productive lives.

– Larry Hogan, Maryland Governor (from a press release about the executive order)

The court ruled that with this order the sentencing of juveniles to life in prison does not violate the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. ²

¹ Maryland’s parole system is unique in that recommendations are made by the parole commission, but the governor makes the decision. 

² The 8th Amendment to the Constitution states: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.