Thursday, June 30, 2011

Judge Cooke finds 300+ year mandatory sentence for juvenile unconstitutional

Here's the money passage:

Here, Mathurin faces a mandatory minimum 307-year sentence. Because Congress has abolished the federal parole system, this sentence gives Mathurin no possibility of release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation. A significant portion of this sentence is comprised of mandatory 25-year consecutive sentences required under § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii), which provides:

[N]o term of imprisonment imposed on a person under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person, including any term of imprisonment imposed for the crime of violence or drug trafficking crime during which the firearm was used, carried, or possessed.

Under Graham, this provision of § 924(c)(1)(D) is unconstitutional as applied to Mathurin, a juvenile offender convicted of non-homicide offenses. To apply the statute in accordance with the Eighth Amendment, severance of the constitutionally offensive portion of § 924(c)(1)(D) is necessary.

Judge Cooke ends up finding the rest of the statute can be saved and sentences James Mathurin to 40 years in prison, meaning he will get out in his 50s, instead of spending the rest of his life in jail. Here's the entire order.

Cooke Finds Sentence Unconstitutional

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