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Duncan v. State of Michigan
Joint amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and The Constitution Project.
Argument: The right to effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment, and the Michigan State constitutional analogue is broader than the right to assistance at trial and requires more than the mere appointment of counsel. The Strickland post-conviction remedial standard is the wrong standard in a class action seeking prospective relief to halt and prevent system-wide deficiencies in how Michigan meets its constitutional obligation to provide indigent defendants effective assistance of counsel. The right to effective assistance of counsel is cognizable prospectively. The failure to provide adequate indigent defense services disproportionately burdens communities of color.
People v. Carp; People v. Davis; People v. Eliason
Brief of Juvenile Law Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, et al. as amici curiae In Support of Appellants Carp, Davis and Eliason (full list of amici in appendix to attached brief).
Argument: Miller reaffirms the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition that children are categorically less deserving of the harshest forms of punishments. Miller v. Alabama applies retroactively. Miller is retroactive because Kuntrell Jackson received the same relief on collateral review. Miller applies retroactively pursuant to Teague v. Lane. Miller is retroactive because it announces a substantive rule that categorically prohibits the imposition of mandatory life without parole on all juvenile offenders. Miller is retroactive because it involves a substantive interpretation of the Eighth Amendment that reflects the Supreme Court’s evolving understanding of child and adolescent development. Miller is a "watershed rule" under Teague. Once the Court declares a particular sentence "cruel and unusual" when imposed on a juvenile, the continued imposition of that sentence violates the Eighth Amendment. Any life without parole sentences for a juvenile who did not kill or intend to kill is inconsistent with adolescent development and neuroscience research and unconstitutional pursuant to Miller and Graham. Intent to kill cannot be inferred when a juvenile is convicted of felony murder. Any life without parole sentence for a juvenile convicted of felony murder is unconstitutional pursuant to Miller and Graham. All juveniles convicted of murder in Michigan are entitled to individualized sentences that presumptively provide a meaningful opportunity for release.