The Firm recently won an extraordinary victory in a Motion for Modification in Prince George’s County. Our client was one of the youngest individuals ever convicted of murder in the State of Maryland — he was only 14 years old. When he was sentenced, almost 15 years ago, the Judge imposed a term of “life suspend all but 35 years.”
Although our client committed a terrible crime, the sentence was very harsh for someone his age. Our more modern jurisprudence, guided by several recent Supreme Court opinions, establishes that juveniles, especially 14 year olds, are less culpable than adults because their brains are not fully developed. This is something that we all know as a matter of common sense, but it has taken courts a long time to acknowledge. After a string of Supreme Court cases, however, is now a matter of constitutional law that sentencing courts must take youth into consideration when sentencing a juvenile.
We argued, and the Court agreed, that our client should be resentenced to a lesser — but still significant — term of imprisonment. Our argument included a 30-page memorandum of law that the Judge called “one of the best pieces of legal writing” he has seen in 30 years.
Ultimately the Judge reduced our client’s sentence by 15 years. Our client, who is fully remorseful and who fully admits his criminal conduct, should be coming home in the next couple years.