Colorado v. TateAnnotate this Case
Defendants Tenarro Banks and Michael Tate were convicted in 2004 of class 1 felonies for acts committed when they were juveniles. The Supreme Court granted review in defendants' respective cases to determine what remedy was appropriate in light of the federal Supreme Court's decision in "Miller v. Alabama," (132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012)). Under the sentencing scheme in place at the time (which governed offenses committed between 1990 and 2006), both Banks and Tate were given mandatory sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP). While both cases were pending on appeal to the court of appeals, the Supreme Court released its opinion in "Miller." The "Miller" decision rendered the Colorado statutory scheme for mandatory LWOP in place from 1990-2006 as unconstitutional as applied to juveniles. Because the Colorado legislature has not acted to adopt a new sentencing scheme in light of "Miller," so the Colorado Supreme Court was tasked with "filling the gap." For Tate and Banks, the Supreme Court remanded the cases for the trial court to determine wither LWOP was an appropriate sentence under "Miller;" if the trial court determined LWOP was not warranted, life with the possibility of parole (LWPP) was the proper sentence. A third case before the Court on collateral review centered on whether "Miller" applied retroactively: Brendan Jensen was convicted in 1998 of first degree murder while he was seventeen. Under the sentencing scheme in place at the time, his sentence was LWOP. The Court held that the rule announced in "Miller" was procedural rather than substantive in nature, and therefore did not apply retroactively. For Jensen, the Court affirmed the trial court's order denying his motion for post-conviction relief.