Statement attributable to ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert
We are extremely disappointed the Supreme Court of the United States will not address the unconstitutional 241-year prison sentence of Bobby Bostic.
Mr. Bostic should get a chance to show that crimes he committed at 16 do not define him. The Constitution demands nothing less.
Children are different than adults. Our criminal justice system across the nation must reflect this realization, one that the Supreme Court itself addressed in Graham v. Florida. In 2010, the high court found the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment “prohibits the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile offender who did not commit homicide.”
A handful of states have misinterpreted Graham and believe the ruling only applies when the magic words “life without parole” are used. The state of Missouri even argues Mr. Bostic’s 241-year sentence is not unconstitutional because he will be eligible for parole at the “great age” of 112.
Bostic’s sentence is not only unconstitutional, it is reprehensible.
The Supreme Court must eventually address the issue on behalf of the lives of the countless other men and women unconstitutionally sentenced as children to a lifetime behind bars.
The ACLU of Missouri will continue to represent Mr. Bostic as we pursue all other legal options to get him what he deserves: A chance to show that he has grown up and changed.