University of Utah law professors Michael Teter and Troy Booher this week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the of case Albert Bell, a 16-year-old sentenced in 1996 to life in prison for his participation in an Arkansas robbery.
Because his accomplice shot and killed two people, Bell — who was unarmed at the time and testified he had no intent to harm anyone — was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life without parole.
The case presents the nation’s high court with an opportunity to clarify law related to sentencing of juvenile offenders, Teter said.
“The Court has already held that a juvenile convicted of a non-homicide offense cannot be sentenced to life without parole,” said Teter. “The question is whether that same rule applies to someone who was convicted of felony murder, even though he lacked any intent to kill and did not kill.”
More on the case is available here.