CCF files brief in recent state case

Published: September 26th, 2011

Category: News

The Center for Children and Families has just filed a brief as Amicus Curiae in the case of Courtney C. Schulhoff v. State of Florida, currently pending before the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal. Schulhoff is challenging the constitutionality under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution of Florida’s statutory requirement that any juvenile accused of a capital crime be indicted and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the criminal adult circuit court, and, if found guilty, sentenced to a non-discretionary life in prison without the possibility of parole, without consideration of the juvenile’s age. In its Amicus brief, CCF is arguing that this requirement is unconstitutional. In particular, CCF is arguing that age must be taken into account in determining the culpability and sentencing of juveniles in the criminal justice system, due to research in social science and neuroscience that provides an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the developmental process in childhood and that reveals that characteristics of youth seriously compromise the standard penological justifications for punishment.