By KIM CHANDLER Associated Press
In reviewing his case, the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles — saying judges and juries should consider the special factors of youth — a decision that eventually led to inmates across the country getting a chance at release.
But Miller will not get that chance. A judge on Tuesday handed down a second life sentence without possibility of parole.
Before handing down the sentence, Craig repeated the line that Miller was attributed with saying before he delivered a final blow to Cannon: “I am God. I’ve come to take your life.” Craig said those were some of “the most chilling words I have heard.”
Craig said he was not convinced Miller could be rehabilitated and noted that Miller was the primary aggressor in the slaying.
“Had you not made the decisions that night, Mr. Cannon, in my view, would still be alive,” Craig said. “You showed cunning, not clumsy, rash thinking.”
Miller, now 32, appeared during the hearing, which was conducted virtually, by video link from an office at the Alabama prison where he is incarcerated. He did not visibly react as the sentence was read.
The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled in Miller's case that mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. In the 2012 opinion in Miller’s case, justices ordered that judges and juries should consider “children’s diminished culpability, and heightened capacity for change” should make such sentences “uncommon.”
“Miller’s stepfather physically abused him; his alcoholic and drug-addicted mother neglected him; he had been in and out of foster care as a result; and he had tried to kill himself four times, the first when he should have been in kindergarten,” the court wrote in the majority opinion.
While other juvenile lifers across the country have seen their sentences reduced because of Miller's case and a later ruling that made the decision retroactive, his own case had lingered without a decision until Tuesday.
At an earlier resentencing hearing, Miller’s lawyers cited his childhood of physical abuse and neglect and argued that at 14, his brain was not fully developed.
The Equal Justice Initiative, which has represented Miller, did not immediately comment on the decision.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the judge, “restored the punishment that is fitting for Evan Miller’s wicked actions.”
“When Evan Miller robbed and savagely beat his neighbor, setting fire to the man’s trailer and leaving his incapacitated victim to die a horrible death, he earned a well-deserved sentence of life in prison without parole,” Marshall said in a statement.
Cannon's daughter, Candy Cheatham, had previously called Miller's apology for the slaying “empty words.”
The Supreme Court had been moving toward greater mercy for juveniles over more than a decade, first ending the death penalty for people under 18 and then reducing the universe of people who could get life without parole sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles. But in a departure from that trend, the court last week held that judges do not have to determine that a juvenile offender is beyond hope of rehabilitation before ruling that he should spend the rest of his life in prison.
FINALLY! A state elected official who has the courage to stop kicking that 'old dented prison can' down the road.
Janette Grantham, Director of VOCAL applauds Governor Ivey for her courage, foresight, and determination for a better and safer Alabama.
Today, Governor Ivey announces the next step in the construction of three new prisons to replace current facilities which are collapsing more each day.
Per Ms. Grantham, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the construction of new facilities is the first step toward solving Alabama's horrible prison facilities. Of course, this construction will not solve all of Alabama's prison problems, but it is a first step forward in our journey to provide humane facilities for inmates and ensure the safety our families and communities.
Thank You - Governor Ivey for your resolve to keep us safe.
Every April, OVC leads communities throughout the country in their annual observances of NCVRW.
This year, OVC commemorated NCVRW on April 7–13. This year's NCVRW theme—Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.—celebrates the progress made by those before us as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed. Vocal's annual candlelight vigil was held on April 12th, 2019 at 7 pm on the lawn of the Attorney General's office. The guest speakers were Chief Ernest Finley & Attorney General Steve Marshall. Many individuals who have continuously helped fight for crime victim's right's were honored that night.
To view gallery, click Read More!