Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it’s unconstitutional to send juveniles to prison for life with no possibility of parole for crimes other than murder, Florida judges still are handing out sentences that assure teen offenders will die behind bars.
While states with far fewer juveniles serving life sentences for non-homicide crimes have dealt with the so-called “Graham decision,” Florida has stubbornly refused. Roughly 100 inmates, more than any other state, are in limbo, although some have been resentenced and even released. The number still incarcerated includes two from West Palm Beach who were convicted of the savage gang rape of a 35-year-old Dunbar Village woman and a Lake Worth youth who raped an 8-year-old girl and left her for dead in a trash bin.
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JAILED AS JUVENILES
Some of the juvenile offender cases awaiting the Florida Supreme Court’s decision on lengthy sentences:
PALM BEACH COUNTY
At 17, Cunningham kidnapped and raped a young girl in 2005, leaving her for dead under 197 pounds of rocks.
At 15, Taylor participated in the 2007 savage gang rape of a Dunbar Village woman and her son.
At 16, Walker participated in the Dunbar Village attack.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
Now 40, he is serving a 99-year sentence for robbing seven people at gunpoint in St. Lucie County when he was 16.
When he was 15, he shot a convenience store owner during a robbery in St. Lucie County in 2002.
Source: Florida Department of Corrections