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Dec. 18, 2007

Read Dec. 18 News Release: Law School Clinic Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Major Juvenile Justice Case

The Supreme Court Clinic at The University of Texas School of Law filed Monday (Dec. 17) a certiorari petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to review the sentence of a South Carolina prisoner, Chris Pittman, who is serving a 30-year term without parole for an offense he committed when he was 12 years old.

Supreme Court Clinic Files
Certiorari Petition with U.S. Supreme Court
 

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No other inmate in the country is serving so severe a sentence for an offense committed at such a young age.

The cert petition asks the Supreme Court to address for the first time whether its reasoning in the 2005 Roper v. Simmons decision, which prohibited the death penalty for minors, also protects 12-year-old children who receive lengthy mandatory sentences without possibility of parole.

The Clinic argues that Pittman's sentence of 30 years without the possibility of parole is constitutionally excessive because the Simmons case said that "children are different" when it comes to sentencing. The Clinic is asking the Supreme Court to consider whether it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to impose such a severe sentence on a 12-year-old child, especially when the sentencing judge had no opportunity to take Pittman's youth into account as a mitigating factor.

Michele Deitch CAPTION
Michele Deitch, adjunct professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs.

CREDIT
Photo by Marsha Miller
Lynn Blais CAPTION
Lynn Blais, Leroy G. Denman, Jr. Regents Professor, School of Law.

CREDIT
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden
Micheal Sturley CAPTION
Michael Sturley, Stanley D. and Sandra J. Rosenberg Centennial Professor, School of Law.

CREDIT
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden
Earl Landers (Lanny) Vickery CAPTION
Earl Landers (Lanny) Vickery, Austin-based attorney.

CREDIT
Photo by Marsha Miller
Jordan Steiker CAPTION
Jordan Steiker, Cooper K. Ragan Regents Professor in Law, School of Law.

CREDIT
Photo by Marsha Miller
Law School Supreme Court petition 2007 CAPTION
(Left to right) Professor Lynn Blais, School of Law

Earl Landers (Lanny) Vickery, Austin attorney

Leslie Lukens, second-year student, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Professor Michael Sturley (standing), School of Law

Zach Beasley, third-year student, School of Law

Professor Michele Deitch, LBJ School of Public Affairs and School of Law

Adam Gray, third-year student, School of Law

CREDIT
Photo by Marsha Miller
Supreme Court clinic 2007 CAPTION
(Left to right) Professor Michael Sturley, School of Law

Professor Michele Deitch, LBJ School of Public Affairs and School of Law

Professor Lynn Blais, School of Law

Zach Beasley, third-year student, School of Law

Adam Gray, third-year student, School of Law

Leslie Lukens, second-year student, LBJ School of Public Affairs

CREDIT
Photo by Marsha Miller
Christopher Pittman and grandfather Joe Pittman ca. 2001 CAPTION
Christopher Pittman and grandfather Joe Pittman ca. 2001.

CREDIT
Family photo
Christopher Pittman in about 2000

CAPTION
Christopher Pittman in about 2000.

CREDIT
Family photo

Christopher Pittman, 11 years old CAPTION
Christopher Pittman, 11 years old.
The Clinic and LBJ students visited a Texas Youth Commission juvenile prison, the Giddings State School, which houses the Juvenile Capital Murderers Program CAPTION
The Supreme Court Clinic and LBJ School of Public Affairs students visited a Texas Youth Commission juvenile prison, the Giddings State School, which houses the Juvenile Capital Murderers Program.

Left to right: Ryan Reyna (second-year, LBJ School of Public Affairs)

Raenetta Nance (second-year, LBJ School of Public Affairs)

Amanda Barstow (first-year, LBJ School of Public Affairs)

Professor Michael Sturley (School of Law)

Jessica Cassidy (Dual degree: second-year School of Law, second-year LBJ School of Public Affairs)

Judson Littleton (third-year, School of Law)

Professor Michele Deitch (School of Law, LBJ School of Public Affairs)

Anthony Kaim (third-year, School of Law)

Adam Gray (third-year, School of Law)

 

 

  Updated 26 March 2008
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