Howell v. StateAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant a resentencing hearing and imposing a life sentence with parole eligibility pursuant to the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act (FSMA), holding that Appellant was entitled to a new sentencing hearing based on this Court’s recent decision in Harris v. State, 547 S.W.3d 64.
Appellant received a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for a crime he committed when he was seventeen years old. After the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), Appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The circuit court granted the writ, vacated Appellant’s life without parole sentence, and remanded his case to the circuit court for resentencing. Before the resentencing hearing was held, the general assembly passed the FSMA, which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for juvenile offenders and extended parole eligibility to juvenile offenders. The circuit court proceeded to sentence Appellant under the new penalty provisions of the FSMA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant committed his crime before the effective date of the FSMA, the penalty provisions of the Act did not apply to him.