Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children
In response to the American legal system's growing impulse throughout the 1990s and early 2000s to punish instead of rehabilitate youth, the CFJC helped form the Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children in 2006. The Coalition is a group of attorneys, academics, child advocates, and concerned citizens who are committed to ensuring the fair treatment of children in our juvenile and criminal justice systems. It has focused its reform goals on the elimination of the extreme sentencing practice of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) in favor of age-appropriate sentencing practices that account for a child’s capacity for rehabilitation. The Coalition issued a report in 2008 analyzing the issue of JLWOP in Illinois and providing data regarding the approximately 100 individuals serving the sentence. An executive summary of this report is also available.
On June 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Miller v. Alabama, prohibiting mandatory life sentences for homicide offenses committed by juveniles.
On March 20, 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court held in People v. Addolfo Davis that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Miller was retroactive. Read the CFJC's press release for more information.
On December 1, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Illinois Attorney General’s petition for certiorari asking the Court to consider an appeal in People v. Addolfo Davis. This means that the Davis decision will stand and that approximately 80 individuals who were under 18 at the time of their offense, and whose life-without-parole sentences were imposed without any opportunity to consider their age, development, education, home environment or even the particular circumstances of the offense, will have the opportunity to be resentenced.
On Jan. 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that the 2012 Miller v. Alabama decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile killers must be applied retroactively to the cases of hundreds of people with life prison sentences imposed years before the Miller decision. Read the CFJC amicus brief filed in the case.
The CFJC currently represents some of the individuals serving juvenile life without parole, and CFJC attorneys coordinate with attorneys in Illinois and around the country regarding this issue. If you are interested in learning more about this effort, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.