Atwell v. FloridaAnnotate this Case
Petitioner, sixteen-years-old at the time he committed the offenses, was convicted of armed robbery and first-degree murder. Under the statute then in effect, petitioner was sentenced for the first-degree murder to a mandatory term of life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years, and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the armed robbery. Under the existing statutory scheme, the Commission conducted a parole hearing and set petitioner's presumptive parole release date, which is the earliest date he may be released from prison as determined by objective parole guidelines, for the year 2130 - one hundred and forty years after the crime and far exceeding petitioner’s life expectancy. The court concluded that Florida’s existing parole system, as set forth by statute, does not provide for individualized consideration of petitioner’s juvenile status at the time of the murder, as required by Miller v. Alabama, and that his sentence, which is virtually indistinguishable from a sentence of life without parole, is therefore unconstitutional. Accordingly, the court quashed the Fourth District Court of Appeal's underlying decision upholding the sentence and remanded for resentencing.