But by a slim margin of 5-4, Justices Kagan, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor prevailed, successfully determining the sentences to be cruel and unusual punishment. Legal experts speculated that the judges had been influenced by a 1999 Arkansas case where a 14-year-old received the mandatory life sentence as an accomplice to an armed robbery turned deadly, even though he had no direct involvement in the shooting. But SCOTUS insiders said the five justices were ultimately persuaded by the guilty verdict in the Jerry Sandusky trial.
"The majority felt that condemning minors to the untold horrors of being raped over and over again, each day, in the prison shower and cafeteria and woodshop and exercise yard by Sandusky exceeded reasonable punitive limits," a senior clerk explained. "I even heard Justice Scalia say lethal injection offers more humanity and dignity; but then he also used that same rationale to argue for executing child criminals."
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.