Dumping a Dishonest Precedent Less Than Honestly — Part I
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Jones v. Mississippi, regarding the constitutional requirements to sentence an under-18 murderer to life in prison without parole (LWOP). The majority opinion claims to “carefully follow both Miller [v. Alabama] and Montgomery [v. Louisiana].” The dissent claims “the Court guts” both decisions. Neither statement is completely right. Neither could be, given that Montgomery contradicts both Miller and itself.
About all that is left of Montgomery is its bare holding that Miller is retroactive. That holding will soon be essentially moot, as nearly all the murderers who killed before their 18th birthday who qualify for reconsideration under Miller will either have had a new decision in their cases (see footnote 6 of Jones, last sentence) or have lost their right to seek it by delay. The holding stands like the chimney of a house that burned down, useless but still standing.
There is a certain poetic justice in Montgomery being largely relegated to the dustbin in a less-than-honest decision, as Montgomery itself is among the most dishonest decisions in recent Supreme Court history. Continue reading . . .