People v. Davis

In 1990, defendant, then 14 years old, was arrested for two fatal shootings. Following a discretionary hearing under the Juvenile Court Act, the court allowed defendant to be prosecuted under the criminal laws. He was convicted of two first degree murders, attempted first degree murders of two others, and home invasion. Because defendant was convicted of murdering more than one victim, the Unified Code of Corrections, 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(1)(c), required a term of natural life imprisonment, with parole not available. He was also sentenced to 30 years for each attempted murder and home invasion, all to run concurrently. The appellate court affirmed. In 1996-1998 defendant filed three post-conviction petitions. All were dismissed; the appellate court affirmed the dismissals. In 2002, defendant filed another petition, arguing that the natural life sentence was unconstitutional because defendant did not actually participate in the act of killing; that the sentence violated the Eighth Amendment; and that the statute requiring a mandatory life sentence violated the Illinois Constitution as applied to a 14-year-old. The circuit court dismissed, noting that defendant carried a weapon and actually entered the abode where the murders occurred. The appellate court affirmed. Defendant another petition in 2011, arguing violation of the Eighth Amendment in light of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision, Graham v. Florida, and ineffective assistance because counsel failed to interview an eyewitness before the juvenile hearing. The court denied the petition. While appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided in Miller v. Alabama (2012), that “mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishments.’ ” The appellate court concluded that Miller applies retroactively on post-conviction review and remanded for a new sentencing hearing, but upheld denial of the ineffective assistance claim. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. View "People v. Davis" on Justia Law