Posts tagged "1011615"

Commonwealth v. Costa (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-116-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-11828   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  LOUIS R. COSTA.       Suffolk.     May 5, 2015. – July 9, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.   Constitutional Law, Sentence, Cruel and unusual punishment, Parole.  Due Process of Law, Sentence, Parole.  Parole.  Homicide.  Practice, Criminal, Sentence, Parole, Capital case.     Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on November 28, 2014.   The case reported by Hines, J.     David J. Apfel (Katherine C. Sadeck with him) for the defendant. John P. Zanini, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Benjamin H. Keehn, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for Committee for Public Counsel Services & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief. John H. Cunha, Jr., & Charles Allan Hope, for James Costello, amicus curiae, submitted a brief. LENK, J.  In Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 2460 (2012) (Miller), the United States Supreme Court held that the imposition of mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole on individuals who were under the age of eighteen at the time of their crimes (juvenile offenders) violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments.”  Approximately one year later, in Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655, 666 (2013) (Diatchenko), S.C., 471 Mass. 12 (2015), this court held that Miller applies retroactively to cases on collateral appeal.  We also went beyond the Court’s holding in Miller and determined that art. 26 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, which prohibits “cruel or unusual punishments,” bars even the discretionary imposition of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole on juvenile offenders.  Id. at 671. Prior to our decision in Diatchenko, juvenile offenders convicted of murder in the first degree in the Commonwealth received mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole, like adult offenders convicted of the same offense.  Id. at 667.  Our decision in Diatchenko invalidated the sentences of all juvenile offenders sentenced under that sentencing scheme, to the extent to which those sentences rendered the offenders ineligible for parole.  Id.  In Diatchenko and Commonwealth v. Brown, 466 Mass. 676 (2013) (Brown), decided on the same day as Diatchenko, we determined that the proper remedy was to excise from the sentencing statute, when applied to juvenile offenders, the provision regarding […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 9, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

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