The Ohio Supreme Court has sharply split over whether a 112-year sentence for a teenager convicted of kidnapping and raping a Youngstown State student in 2001 is constitutional.
The court ended up ruling against what is, basically, a life sentence. The sentence for 15-year-old Brandon Moore means he wouldn’t be eligible for parole until he’s 92. In the majority opinion, Justice Paul Pfeifer pointed to a US Supreme Court ruling that a juvenile not convicted of murder who’s demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation must be given a meaningful opportunity for release. Moore’s attorney Rachel Bloomekatz argued before the court in February 2015 that a judge can’t decide at the outset that a juvenile is never fit to re-enter society. “And he can’t do that by giving a sentence that’s so long that it’ll ensure the juvenile dies in prison.”
But in the minority opinion, Justice Sharon Kennedy said that US Supreme Court ruling was only for juveniles sentenced to life without parole, which wasn’t the case here.