M5 LSC Write a legal brief of at least five pages on Miller v. Alabama. Each concurring or dissenting opinion should receive at least a page. A brief is

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Write a legal brief of at least five pages on Miller v. Alabama.  Each concurring or dissenting opinion should receive at least a page.  A brief is a legal outline highlighting the facts, law and application of the law to the facts in a particular case.  There are many good examples of formats for case briefs on the internet.  This is an important assignment and will be graded as such.

1 (Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2011

Syllabus

NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Syllabus

MILLER v. ALABAMA

CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF

ALABAMA

No. 10–9646. Argued March 20, 2012—Decided June 25, 2012*

In each of these cases, a 14-year-old was convicted of murder and sen-
tenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without the possibil-
ity of parole. In No. 10−9647, petitioner Jackson accompanied two
other boys to a video store to commit a robbery; on the way to the
store, he learned that one of the boys was carrying a shotgun. Jack-
son stayed outside the store for most of the robbery, but after he en-
tered, one of his co-conspirators shot and killed the store clerk. Ar-
kansas charged Jackson as an adult with capital felony murder and
aggravated robbery, and a jury convicted him of both crimes. The
trial court imposed a statutorily mandated sentence of life imprison-
ment without the possibility of parole. Jackson filed a state habeas
petition, arguing that a mandatory life-without-parole term for a 14-
year-old violates the Eighth Amendment. Disagreeing, the court
granted the State’s motion to dismiss. The Arkansas Supreme Court
affirmed.

In No. 10−9646, petitioner Miller, along with a friend, beat Miller’s
neighbor and set fire to his trailer after an evening of drinking and
drug use. The neighbor died. Miller was initially charged as a juve-
nile, but his case was removed to adult court, where he was charged
with murder in the course of arson. A jury found Miller guilty, and
the trial court imposed a statutorily mandated punishment of life
without parole. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed,
holding that Miller’s sentence was not overly harsh when compared
to his crime, and that its mandatory nature was permissible under

——————
* Together with No. 10–9647, Jackson v. Hobbs, Director, Arkansas

Department of Correction, on certiorari to the Supreme Court of Arkan-
sas.

2 MILLER v. ALABAMA

Syllabus

the Eighth Amendment.

Held: The Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that man-
dates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide
offenders. Pp. 6−27.

(a) The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual pun-
ishment “guarantees individuals the right not to be subjected to ex-
cessive sanctions.” Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551, 560. That right
“flows from the basic ‘precept of justice that punishment for crime
should be graduated and proportioned’ ” to both the offender and the
offense. Ibid.

Two strands of precedent reflecting the concern with proportionate
punishment come together here. The first has adopted categorical
bans on sentencing practices based on mismatches between the cul-
pability of a class of offenders and the severity of a penalty. See, e.g.,
Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U. S. 407. Several cases in this group
have specially focused on juvenile offenders, because of their lesser
culpability. Thus, Roper v. Simmons held that the Eighth Amend-
ment bars capital punishment for children, and Graham v. Florida,
560 U. S. ___, concluded that the Amendment prohibits a sentence of
life without the possibility of parole for a juvenile convicted of a non-
homicide offense. Graham further likened life without parole for ju-
veniles to the death penalty, thereby evoking a second line of cases.
In those decisions, this Court has required sentencing authorities to
consider the characteristics of a defendant and the details of his of-
fense before sentencing him to death. See, e.g., Woodson v. North
Carolina, 428 U. S. 280 (plurality opinion). Here, the confluence of
these two lines of precedent leads to the conclusion that mandatory
life without parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment.

As to the first set of cases: Roper and Graham establish that chil-
dren are constitutionally different from adults for sentencing purpos-
es. Their “ ‘lack of maturity’ ” and “ ‘underdeveloped sense of respon-
sibility’ ” lead to recklessness, impulsivity, and heedless risk-taking.
Roper, 543 U. S., at 569. They “are more vulnerable . . . to negative
influences and outside pressures,” including from their family and
peers; they have limited “contro[l] over their own environment” and
lack the ability to extricate themselves from horrific, crime-producing
settings. Ibid. And because a child’s character is not as “well
formed” as an adult’s, his traits are “less fixed” and his actions are
less likely to be “evidence of irretrievabl[e] deprav[ity].” Id., at 570.
Roper and Graham emphasized that the distinctive attributes of
youth diminish the penological justifications for imposing the harsh-
est sentences on juvenile offenders, even when they commit terrible
crimes.
While Graham’s flat ban on life without parole was for nonhomi-

3 Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

Syllabus

cide crimes, nothing that Graham said about children is crime-
specific. Thus, its reasoning implicates any life-without-parole sen-
tence for a juvenile, even as its categorical bar relates only to non-
homicide offenses. Most fundamentally, Graham insists that youth
matters in determining the appropriateness of a lifetime of incarcera-
tion without the possibility of parole. The mandatory penalty
schemes at issue here, however, prevent the sentencer from consider-
ing youth and from assessing whether the law’s harshest term of im-
prisonment proportionately punishes a juvenile offender. This con-
travenes Graham’s (and also Roper’s) foundational principle: that
imposition of a State’s most severe penalties on juvenile offenders
cannot proceed as though they were not children.

Graham also likened life-without-parole sentences for juveniles to
the death penalty. That decision recognized that life-without-parole
sentences “share some characteristics with death sentences that are
shared by no other sentences.” 560 U. S., at ___. And it treated life
without parole for juveniles like this Court’s cases treat the death
penalty, imposing a categorical bar on its imposition for nonhomicide
offenses. By likening life-without-parole sentences for juveniles to
the death penalty, Graham makes relevant this Court’s cases de-
manding individualized sentencing in capital cases. In particular,
those cases have emphasized that sentencers must be able to consid-
er the mitigating qualities of youth. In light of Graham’s reasoning,
these decisions also show the flaws of imposing mandatory life-
without-parole sentences on juvenile homicide offenders. Pp. 6−17.

(b) The counterarguments of Alabama and Arkansas are unpersua-
sive. Pp. 18–27.

(1) The States first contend that Harmelin v. Michigan, 501
U. S. 957, forecloses a holding that mandatory life-without-parole
sentences for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment. Harmelin de-
clined to extend the individualized sentencing requirement to non-
capital cases “because of the qualitative difference between death and
all other penalties.” Id., at 1006 (KENNEDY, J., concurring in part and
concurring in judgment). But Harmelin had nothing to do with chil-
dren, and did not purport to apply to juvenile offenders. Indeed,
since Harmelin, this Court has held on multiple occasions that sen-
tencing practices that are permissible for adults may not be so for
children. See Roper, 543 U. S. 551; Graham, 560 U. S ___.

The States next contend that mandatory life-without-parole terms
for juveniles cannot be unconstitutional because 29 jurisdictions im-
pose them on at least some children convicted of murder. In consid-
ering categorical bars to the death penalty and life without parole,
this Court asks as part of the analysis whether legislative enact-
ments and actual sentencing practices show a national consensus

4 MILLER v. ALABAMA

Syllabus

against a sentence for a particular class of offenders. But where, as
here, this Court does not categorically bar a penalty, but instead re-
quires only that a sentencer follow a certain process, this Court has
not scrutinized or relied on legislative enactments in the same way.
See, e.g., Sumner v. Schuman, 483 U. S. 66.

In any event, the “objective indicia of society’s standards,” Graham,
560 U. S., at ___, that the States offer do not distinguish these cases
from others holding that a sentencing practice violates the Eighth
Amendment. Fewer States impose mandatory life-without-parole
sentences on juvenile homicide offenders than authorized the penalty
(life-without-parole for nonhomicide offenders) that this Court invali-
dated in Graham. And as Graham and Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487
U. S. 815, explain, simply counting legislative enactments can pre-
sent a distorted view. In those cases, as here, the relevant penalty
applied to juveniles based on two separate provisions: One allowed
the transfer of certain juvenile offenders to adult court, while another
set out penalties for any and all individuals tried there. In those cir-
cumstances, this Court reasoned, it was impossible to say whether a
legislature had endorsed a given penalty for children (or would do so
if presented with the choice). The same is true here. Pp. 18–25.

(2) The States next argue that courts and prosecutors suffi-
ciently consider a juvenile defendant’s age, as well as his background
and the circumstances of his crime, when deciding whether to try him
as an adult. But this argument ignores that many States use manda-
tory transfer systems. In addition, some lodge the decision in the
hands of the prosecutors, rather than courts. And even where judges
have transfer-stage discretion, it has limited utility, because the deci-
sionmaker typically will have only partial information about the child
or the circumstances of his offense. Finally, because of the limited
sentencing options in some juvenile courts, the transfer decision may
present a choice between a light sentence as a juvenile and standard
sentencing as an adult. It cannot substitute for discretion at post-
trial sentencing. Pp. 25−27.

No. 10−9646, 63 So. 3d 676, and No. 10−9647, 2011 Ark. 49, ___ S. W.
3d ___, reversed and remanded.

KAGAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY,
GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed a con-
curring opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a
dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined.
THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined.
ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined.

_________________

_________________

1 Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

Opinion of the Court

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-
ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Nos. 10–9646 and 10–9647

EVAN MILLER, PETITIONER
10–9646 v.

ALABAMA

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL

APPEALS OF ALABAMA

KUNTRELL JACKSON, PETITIONER
10–9647 v.

RAY HOBBS, DIRECTOR, ARKANSAS
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF ARKANSAS

[June 25, 2012]

JUSTICE KAGAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The two 14-year-old offenders in these cases were convict-

ed of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without
the possibility of parole. In neither case did the sentenc-
ing authority have any discretion to impose a different
punishment. State law mandated that each juvenile die
in prison even if a judge or jury would have thought that
his youth and its attendant characteristics, along with the
nature of his crime, made a lesser sentence (for example,
life with the possibility of parole) more appropriate. Such
a scheme prevents those meting out punishment from
considering a juvenile’s “lessened culpability” and greater
“capacity for change,” Graham v. Florida, 560 U. S. ___,

2 MILLER v. ALABAMA

Opinion of the Court

___ (2010) (slip op., at 17, 23), and runs afoul of our cases’
requirement of individualized sentencing for defendants
facing the most serious penalties. We therefore hold that
mandatory life without parole for those under the age of
18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amend-
ment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments.”

I

A
In November 1999, petitioner Kuntrell Jackson, then 14

years old, and two other boys decided to rob a video store.
En route to the store, Jackson learned that one of the
boys, Derrick Shields, was carrying a sawed-off shotgun in
his coat sleeve. Jackson decided to stay outside when the
two other boys entered the store. Inside, Shields pointed
the gun at the store clerk, Laurie Troup, and demanded
that she “give up the money.” Jackson v. State, 359 Ark.
87, 89, 194 S. W. 3d 757, 759 (2004) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Troup refused. A few moments later,
Jackson went into the store to find Shields continuing to
demand money. At trial, the parties disputed whether
Jackson warned Troup that “[w]e ain’t playin’,” or instead
told his friends, “I thought you all was playin’.” Id., at 91,
194 S. W. 3d, at 760 (internal quotation marks omitted).
When Troup threatened to call the police, Shields shot and
killed her. The three boys fled empty-handed. See id., at
89–92, 194 S. W. 3d, at 758–760.

Arkansas law gives prosecutors discretion to charge 14-
year-olds as adults when they are alleged to have commit-
ted certain serious offenses. See Ark. Code Ann. §9–27–
318(c)(2) (1998). The prosecutor here exercised that au-
thority by charging Jackson with capital felony murder
and aggravated robbery. Jackson moved to transfer the
case to juvenile court, but after considering the alleged
facts of the crime, a psychiatrist’s examination, and Jack-
son’s juvenile arrest history (shoplifting and several inci-

3 Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

Opinion of the Court

dents of car theft), the trial court denied the motion, and
an appellate court affirmed. See Jackson v. State, No.
02–535, 2003 WL 193412, *1 (Ark. App., Jan. 29, 2003);
§§9–27–318(d), (e). A jury later convicted Jackson of both
crimes. Noting that “in view of [the] verdict, there’s only
one possible punishment,” the judge sentenced Jackson to
life without parole. App. in No. 10–9647, p. 55 (hereinaf-
ter Jackson App.); see Ark. Code Ann. §5–4–104(b) (1997)
(“A defendant convicted of capital murder or treason shall
be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without pa-
role”).1 Jackson did not challenge the sentence on appeal,
and the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the convic-
tions. See 359 Ark. 87, 194 S. W. 3d 757.

Following Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551 (2005), in
which this Court invalidated the death penalty for all
juvenile offenders under the age of 18, Jackson filed a
state petition for habeas corpus. He argued, based on
Roper’s reasoning, that a mandatory sentence of life with-
out parole for a 14-year-old also violates the Eighth
Amendment. The circuit court rejected that argument and
granted the State’s motion to dismiss. See Jackson App.
72–76. While that ruling was on appeal, this Court held
in Graham v. Florida that life without parole violates the
Eighth Amendment when imposed on juvenile nonhomi-
cide offenders. After the parties filed briefs addressing
that decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the
dismissal of Jackson’s petition. See Jackson v. Norris,
2011 Ark. 49, ___ S. W. 3d ___. The majority found that
Roper and Graham were “narrowly tailored” to their con-
texts: “death-penalty cases involving a juvenile and life-
imprisonment-without-parole cases for nonhomicide of-

——————
1 Jackson was ineligible for the death penalty under Thompson v.

Oklahoma, 487 U. S. 815 (1988) (plurality opinion), which held that
capital punishment of offenders under the age of 16 violates the Eighth
Amendment.

4 MILLER v. ALABAMA

Opinion of the Court

fenses involving a juvenile.” Id., at 5, ___ S. W. 3d, at ___.
Two justices dissented. They noted that Jackson was not
the shooter and that “any evidence of intent to kill was
severely lacking.” Id., at 10, ___ S. W. 3d, at ___
(Danielson, J., dissenting). And they argued that Jack-
son’s mandatory sentence ran afoul of Graham’s admoni-
tion that “ ‘[a]n offender’s age is relevant to the Eighth
Amendment, and criminal procedure laws that fail to take
defendants’ youthfulness into account at all would be
flawed.’ ” Id., at 10–11, ___ S. W. 3d, at ___ (quoting Gra-
ham, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 25)).2

B
Like Jackson, petitioner Evan Miller was 14 years old at

the time of his crime. Miller had by then been in and out
of foster care because his mother suffered from alcoholism
and drug addiction and his stepfather abused him. Miller,
too, regularly used drugs and alcohol; and he had at-
tempted suicide four times, the first when he was six years
old. See E. J. M. v. State, 928 So. 2d 1077, 1081 (Ala.
Crim. App. 2004) (Cobb, J., concurring in result); App. in
No. 10–9646, pp. 26–28 (hereinafter Miller App.).

One night in 2003, Miller was at home with a friend,
Colby Smith, when a neighbor, Cole Cannon, came to
make a drug deal with Miller’s mother. See 6 Record in
No. 10–9646, p. 1004. The two boys followed Cannon back
to his trailer, where all three smoked marijuana and
——————

2 For the first time in this Court, Arkansas contends that Jackson’s
sentence was not mandatory. On its view, state law then in effect
allowed the trial judge to suspend the life-without-parole sentence and
commit Jackson to the Department of Human Services for a “training-
school program,” at the end of which he could be placed on probation.
Brief for Respondent in No. 10–9647, pp. 36–37 (hereinafter Arkansas
Brief) (citing Ark. Code Ann. §12–28–403(b)(2) (1999)). But Arkansas
never raised that objection in the state courts, and they treated Jack-
son’s sentence as mandatory. We abide by that interpretation of state
law. See, e.g., Mullaney v. Wilbur, 421 U. S. 684, 690–691 (1975).

5 Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

Opinion of the Court

played drinking games. When Cannon passed out, Miller
stole his wallet, splitting about $300 with Smith. Miller
then tried to put the wallet back in Cannon’s pocket, but
Cannon awoke and grabbed Miller by the throat. Smith
hit Cannon with a nearby baseball bat, and once released,
Miller grabbed the bat and repeatedly struck Cannon with
it. Miller placed a sheet over Cannon’s head, told him
“ ‘I am God, I’ve come to take your life,’ ” and delivered one
more blow. Miller v. State, 63 So. 3d 676, 689 (Ala. Crim.
App. 2010). The boys then retreated to Miller’s trailer, but
soon decided to return to Cannon’s to cover up evidence of
their crime. Once there, they lit two fires. Cannon even-
tually died from his injuries and smoke inhalation. See
id., at 683–685, 689.

Alabama law required that Miller initially be charged as
a juvenile, but allowed the District Attorney to seek re-
moval of the case to adult court. See Ala. Code §12–15–34
(1977). The D. A. did so, and the juvenile court agreed
to the transfer after a hearing. Citing the nature of the
crime, Miller’s “mental maturity,” and his prior juvenile
offenses (truancy and “criminal mischief”), the Alabama
Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. E. J. M. v. State, No.
CR–03–0915, pp. 5–7 (Aug. 27, 2004) (unpublished memo-
randum).3 The State accordingly charged Miller as an
adult with murder in the course of arson. That crime (like
capital murder in Arkansas) carries a mandatory mini-
——————

3 The Court of Criminal Appeals also affirmed the juvenile court’s
denial of Miller’s request for funds to hire his own mental expert for the
transfer hearing. The court pointed out that under governing Alabama
Supreme Court precedent, “the procedural requirements of a trial do
not ordinarily apply” to those hearings. E. J. M. v. State, 928 So. 2d
1077 (2004) (Cobb, J., concurring in result) (internal quotation marks
omitted). In a separate opinion, Judge Cobb agreed on the reigning
precedent, but urged the State Supreme Court to revisit the question in
light of transfer hearings’ importance. See id., at 1081 (“[A]lthough
later mental evaluation as an adult affords some semblance of proce-
dural due process, it is, in effect, too little, too late”).

6 MILLER v. ALABAMA

Opinion of the Court

mum punishment of life without parole. See Ala. Code
§§13A–5–40(9), 13A–6–2(c) (1982).

Relying in significant part on testimony from Smith,
who had pleaded to a lesser offense, a jury found Miller
guilty. He was therefore sentenced to life without the
possibility of parole. The Alabama Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed, ruling that life without parole was “not
overly harsh when compared to the crime” and that the
mandatory nature of the sentencing scheme was permissi-
ble under the Eighth Amendment. 63 So. 3d, at 690; see
id., at 686–691. The Alabama Supreme Court denied
review.

We granted certiorari in both cases, see 565 U. S. ___
(2011) (No. 10–9646); 565 U. S. ___ (2011) (No. 10–9647),
and now reverse.

II
The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and un-

usual punishment “guarantees individuals the right not to
be subjected to excessive sanctions.” Roper, 543 U. S., at
560. That right, we have explained, “flows from the basic
‘precept of justice that punishment for crime should be
graduated and proportioned’ ” to both the offender and the
offense. Ibid. (quoting Weems v. United States, 217 U. S.
349, 367 (1910)). As we noted the last time we consid-
ered life-without-parole sentences imposed on juveniles,
“[t]he concept of proportionality is central to the Eighth
Amendment.” Graham, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 8).
And we view that concept less through a historical prism
than according to “ ‘the evolving standards of decency
that mark the progress of a maturing society.’ ” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U. S. 97, 102 (1976) (quoting Trop v. Dulles,
356 U. S. 86, 101 (1958) (plurality opinion)).

The cases before us implicate two strands of precedent
reflecting our concern with proportionate punishment.
The first has adopted categorical bans on sentencing

7 Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

Opinion of the Court

practices based on mismatches between the culpability of
a class of offenders and the severity of a penalty. See
Graham, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 9–10) (listing cases).
So, for example, we have held that imposing the death
penalty for nonhomicide crimes against individuals, or
imposing it on mentally retarded defendants, violates the
Eighth Amendment. See Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U. S.
407 (2008); Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U. S. 304 (2002). Sev-
eral of the cases in this group have specially focused on
juvenile offenders, because of their lesser culpability.
Thus, Roper held that the Eighth Amendment bars capital
punishment for children, and Graham concluded that the
Amendment also prohibits a sentence of life without the
possibility of parole for a child who committed a nonhomi-
cide offense. Graham further likened life without parole
for juveniles to the death penalty itself, thereby evoking
a second line of our precedents. In those cases, we have
prohibited mandatory imposition of capital punishment,
requiring that sentencing authorities consider the charac-
teristics of a defendant and the details of his offense before
sentencing him to death. See Woodson v. North Carolina,
428 U. S. 280 (1976) (plurality opinion); Lockett v. Ohio,
438 U. S. 586 (1978). Here, the confluence of these two
lines of precedent leads to the conclusion that mandatory
life-without-parole sentences for juveniles violate the
Eighth Amendment.4

——————
4 The three dissenting opinions here each take issue with some or all

of those precedents. See post, at 5–6 (opinion of ROBERTS, C. J.); post,
at 1–6 (opinion of THOMAS, J.); post, at 1–4 (opinion of ALITO, J.). That
is not surprising: their authors (and joiner) each dissented from some or
all of those precedents. See, e.g., Kennedy, 554 U. S., at 447 (ALITO, J.,
joined by ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA and THOMAS, JJ., dissenting);
Roper, 543 U. S., at 607 (SCALIA, J., joined by THOMAS, J., dissenting);
Atkins, 536 U. S., at 337 (SCALIA, J., joined by THOMAS, J., dissent-
ing); Thompson, 487 U. S., at 859 ((SCALIA, J., dissenting); Graham v.
Collins, 506 U. S. 461, 487 (1993) (THOMAS, J., concurring) (contending
that Woodson was wrongly decided). In particular, each disagreed with

8 MILLER v. ALABAMA

Opinion of the Court

To start with the first set of cases: Roper and Graham
establish that children are constitutionally different from
adults for purposes of sentencing. Because juveniles have
diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform,
we explained, “they are less deserving of the most severe
punishments.” Graham, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17).
Those cases relied on three significant gaps between juve-
niles and adults. First, children have a “ ‘lack of maturity
and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility,’ ” leading to
recklessness, impulsivity, and heedless risk-taking. Roper,
543 U. S., at 569. Second, children “are more vulner-
able . . . to negative influences and outside pressures,”
including from their family and peers; they have limited
“contro[l] over their own environment” and lack the ability
to extricate themselves from horrific, crime-producing
settings. Ibid. And third, a child’s character is not as
“well formed” as an adult’s; his traits are “less fixed” and
his actions less likely to be “evidence of irretrievabl[e]
deprav[ity].” Id., at 570.

Our decisions rested not only on common sense—on
what “any parent knows”—but on science and social sci-
ence as well. Id., at 569. In Roper, we cited studies
showing that “ ‘[o]nly a relatively small proportion of adoles-
cents’ ” who engage in illegal activity “ ‘develop entrenched
patterns of problem behavior.’ ” Id., at 570 (quoting Stein-
berg & Scott, Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence: De-
velopmental Immaturity, Diminished Responsibility, and
the Juvenile Death Penalty, 58 Am. Psychologist 1009,

——————

the majority’s reasoning in Graham, which is the foundation stone of
our analysis. See Graham, 560 U. S., at ___ (ROBERTS, C. J., concurring
in judgment) (slip op., at 1); id., at ___ (THOMAS, J., joined by SCALIA
and ALITO, JJ., dissenting) (slip op., at 1–25); id., at ___ (ALITO, J.,
dissenting) (slip op., at 1). While the dissents seek to relitigate old
Eighth Amendment battles, repeating many arguments this Court has
previously (and often) rejected, we apply the logic of Roper, Graham,
and our individualized sentencing decisions to these two cases.

9 Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

Opinion of the Court

1014 (2003)). And in Graham, we noted that “develop-
ments in psychology and brain science continue to show
fundamental differences between juvenile and adult
minds”—for example, in “parts of the brain involved in
behavior control.” 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17).5 We
reasoned that those findings—of transient rashness, pro-
clivity for risk, and inability to assess consequences—both
lessened a child’s “moral culpability” and enhanced the
prospect that, as the years go by and neurological devel-
opment occurs, his “ ‘deficiencies will be reformed.’ ” Id., at
___ (slip op., at 18) (quoting Rop

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