Henry Montgomery v. State of Louisiana, Case No. 14-280

In Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court of the United States held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders, even those convicted of homicide offenses. The Court extended the rulings from Roper v. Simmons and Graham v. Florida that children are less culpable than adults for their actions.  In 1963, Mr. Montgomery shot and killed a police officer in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After trial, Mr. Montgomery received a mandatory life without parole sentence and spent over fifty years incarcerated in the Louisiana Department of Corrections. As of 2016, he was sixty-nine years old and had missed the societal shift in Louisiana and the United States.

This amicus curiae asked the Court to retroactively apply the Miller decision to the case of Mr. Henry Montgomery. First, the amicus curiae argued that Miller constituted a conversion in jurisprudence for the punishment of children because previous thinking portrayed children that committed serious crimes as hopeless. Second, as a matter of equity, if the Court were to prevent lower courts from revisiting those children sentenced to life without parole the Miller decision would resemble nothing more than a half-truth. In short, a landmark case like Miller must be a turning point in criminal procedure. Therefore, Miller cannot be subjected to bars on retroactivity. Teague v. Lanes, 489 U.S. 288, 311 (1989).


Brief of Amici Curiae in Support of the Petitioner