Juvenile Delinquency

Kids: Should We Lock ‘Em Up for Life?

In Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida, criminal defendants sentenced to life without parole for acts committed while they were minors successfully argued that their sentences violated the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. On the day of the oral argument, a nationally-recognized child psychologist who specializes in child welfare and juvenile court issues and one of Oregon's leading attorneys who represent young people charged with serious crimes spoke about the issues behind the cases to an overflow crowd of more than 60 students and attorneys at the UO Law School. You can read background materials about the cases and read the Supreme Court's decision.

Kathie Berger, a 1986 graduate of the UO Law School, currently works fulltime representing people charged with cases for which they could get the death penalty. After a brief stint in family law, she practiced with Juvenile Rights Project in Portland for 15 years, representing juveniles charged with criminal charges in adult and juvenile court. Since 2005 she has had her own practice.

Marty Beyer, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale, assists states in designing delinquency services, focusing on the impact of a young person's cognitive, moral and identity development, experience of trauma, and and disability upon his or her offense, competence and potential for rehabilitation. She assisted in the implementation of statewide strengths/needs-based child welfare practice in Alabama and Oregon, served as an expert in Dupuy v. Samuels in Illinois concerning family-centered safety planning techniques, and in Rosie D. in Massachusetts concerning the use of Medicaid funds for intensive, home-based services for children. Her website is http://www.martybeyer.com/.

Read the Supreme Court Decision

Background Materials:

Laurence Steinberg - Are Adolescents Less Mature Than Adults?

Laurence Steinberg & Ron Haskins - Keeping Adolescents Out of Prison, The Future of Children

Amicus brief in Sullivan and Graham on the difficulties of representing adolescent defendants

Paolo Annino, Juvenile Life Without Parole for Non-Homicide Offenses: Florida Compared to Nation