Ray v. State (Majority, with Concurring and Dissenting)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant a resentencing hearing and imposing a sentence of life with parole eligibility pursuant to the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act (FSMA), 2017 Ark. Acts 2165, holding that the circuit court erred in applying the FSMA to Appellant’s case.
Appellant was sixteen years old when he committed the crimes leading to his convictions for capital murder and theft of property. Appellant received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for capital murder. After Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), was decided, Appellant petitioned for writ of habeas corpus. The circuit court granted the petition, vacated Appellant’s sentence, and remanded for resentencing. Before the circuit court could conduct a Miller hearing, the General Assembly passed the FSMA, which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for juvenile offenders. The State then filed a motion for resentencing under the FSMA. The circuit court relied on the FSMA’s provisions in resentencing Appellant to life with the possibility of parole after thirty years. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant’s sentence had been vacated before the FSMA was enacted, the circuit court erred in applying the FSMA to Appellant’s case. The court remanded the case for a Miller hearing.