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Authors

Shawna C. Quast

Abstract

Ledale Nathan was convicted of second-degree murder and a series of nonhomicide offenses stemming from a home invasion he committed at the age of sixteen. The St. Louis Circuit Court sentenced Nathan at a time when Eighth Amendment jurisprudence regarding juvenile sentencing was in flux. The United States Supreme Court decided two cases that restricted the way courts sentence juvenile offenders: Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama. Graham held that juvenile offenders who had not committed homicide offenses could not be sentenced to life without parole (“LWOP”), while Miller held that LWOP could not be a mandatory sentence for juvenile homicide offenders. However, Graham and Miller left two main questions unresolved. First, does Graham bar consecutive sentences for multiple nonhomicide offenses that effectively function as LWOP? Second, when a juvenile is convicted of homicide and nonhomicide offenses, does Miller require courts to consider mitigating evidence when imposing a sentence for the homicide offense alone, or must courts consider such evidence when imposing aggregate sentences for both the homicide and nonhomicide offenses?

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