Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Virginia

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Defendant was two months short of his eighteenth birthday when he shot and killed Timothy Irving. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of eight felonies, including first degree murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life in prison for the first degree murder charge. Defendant appealed the trial court’s refusal to appoint a neuropsychologist at the Commonwealth’s expense to assist in the preparation of his presentence report and its decision to impose a life sentence. The court of appeals denied Defendant’s petition for appeal with regard to the denial of his motion for a neuropsychologist but granted his petition with regard to the sentence imposed. The court of appeals then concluded that the trial court did not err in sentencing Defendant because a sentence of life did not exceed the statutory maximum penalty for first-degree murder and that because Defendant was not facing a mandatory life sentence, Miller v. Alabama did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to show any abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision that mandated review by the court of appeals; and (2) Miller has no application to the present case. View "Johnson v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law