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Don’t Punish Youth So Harshly

A group of 75 distinguished criminal justice leaders seeks to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a 241-year prison sentence imposed on a Missouri youth, Bobby Bostic, for two armed robberies he committed when he was 16. Bostic is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear his case and overturn the sentence as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment and a 2010 Supreme Court decision, which held that youth convicted of non-homicide crimes must be given reasonable opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.  

In a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief filed last week, law enforcement officials from across the nation, including former U.S. Solicitors General Kenneth Starr and Donald Verrilli, former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, and former F.B.I. Director William Webster, joined Bostic’s cause. The amicus brief effort was coordinated by Fair and Just Prosecution, a national network of newly elected prosecutors committed to change and innovation.

Among other signatories on the brief are 13 current elected prosecutors, nine former judges, several former directors of youth justice departments, and other former law enforcement officials. The brief was co-authored by Clifford M. Sloan, a partner with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, who is currently chair of the Public Welfare Foundation’s Board of Directors.

To see the press release on the brief and the full list of signatories, click here.

ABOUT THE PUBLIC WELFARE FOUNDATION

The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit www.publicwelfare.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

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