State v. Hardman.dissent (Dissenting)

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Cite as 2017 Ark. 259 SUPREME COURT OF ARKANSAS No. CR-17-614 Opinion Delivered: September STATE OF ARKANSAS V. BRANDON HARDMAN 21, 2017 PETITIONER APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 60CR-00-1457] HONORABLE WENDELL LEE RESPONDENT GRIFFEN, JUDGE DISSENTING OPINION. RHONDA K. WOOD, Associate Justice The circuit court has ruled the Arkansas General Assembly’s adoption of the “Wyoming remedy” is unconstitutional and ordered new sentencing hearings before a jury for defendants who were sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes committed as juveniles. The majority of this court has chosen not to address the ruling under this procedural posture, I dissent. In Montgomery v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court held, “[g]iving Miller retroactive effect, moreover, does not require States to relitigate sentences . . . in every case where a juvenile offender received mandatory life without parole. A state may remedy a Miller violation by permitting juvenile homicide offenders to be considered for parole, rather than resentencing them.” 136 S. Ct. 718, 736 (2016) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court cited the Wyoming legislature, which affords juveniles parole eligibility after 25 years, as an example of a sufficient remedy to a Miller error. Id. The Arkansas General Assembly statutorily provided defendants in Arkansas the “Wyoming remedy” when it enacted the Cite as 2017 Ark. 259 Fair Sentencing of Minors Act (FSMA), Act 539 of 2017. As I believe compliance with FSMA is the correct procedure, I would grant the writ. WOMACK, J., joins. 2