And justice for all ...
The Supreme Court of the United States this week declined to hear a case from Pennsylvania that would resolve a lingering issue from its otherwise sound 2012 decision regarding juvenile justice.
Justices ruled in 2012 that state-level trial judges must have discretion to decide whether to impose life sentences on juveniles convicted of serious crimes. That effectively overturned state laws mandating life sentences for juveniles for certain crimes.
The ruling, however, was silent about life sentences already imposed on people who were juveniles at the time of their crimes. Pennsylvania has more juvenile lifers, 462, than any other state. Nationwide, there are about 2,000.
Several states have passed laws allowing reviews to apply the discretion retroactively but Pennsylvania is not among them.
The state Supreme Court rejected retroactive discretion, 4-3, prompting the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It's unfortunate that the U.S. Supreme Court passed up the opportunity to establish uniform justice regarding life sentences for juveniles, which should be determined case by case. Several other cases are available for the court to hear. It should take one or more in the cause of equal justice.