Howell v. State (Majority, with Concurring and Dissenting)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order 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 the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Harris v. State, 547 S.W.3d 64.
In 2000, Appellant was convicted of capital murder for a crime that he committed when he was seventeen years old. Appellant received a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole. After Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), was decided, Appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The circuit court granted the writ, vacated Appellant’s sentence, and remanded Appellant’s case for resentencing. Before Appellant’s 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. Thereafter, the circuit court resentenced Appellant to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after thirty years pursuant to the new penalty provisions of the FSMA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant committed the crime before the effective date of the FSMA, the penalty provisions of the FSMA did not apply to him.