The Catholic University of America

Cara H. Drinan, associate professor, law, was quoted in a June 9 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

Justices decline to hear Pa. case on mandatory life for juveniles

From: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 
Date: June 9, 2014
Author: Paula Reed Ward

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a Pennsylvania case in which the state’s high court chose not to make retroactive a law banning mandatory prison terms of life without parole for juvenile offenders.

The rejection is a blow to advocates for as many as 500 inmates across the commonwealth who were sentenced to mandatory life terms before they turned 18, as well as to as many as 2,000 others across the country who were watching to see what might happen if the Supreme Court had heard arguments on Cunningham v. Pennsylvania.

Still, hope remains among attorneys and academics watching the issue, as they believe the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will have to decide the issue.

“Because [judicial reviews] are discretionary, the court will often pick the case very carefully — even if it wants to address the issue,” said Cara Drinan, who teaches at the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America. “It will wait until the issue is ripe and presented just the right way.”

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