FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2015
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Claire Haynes (334) 242-7351
Page 1 of 1
ALABAMA SUPREME COURT HOLDS THAT MILLER CASE, REGARDING
LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR JUVENILES, IS NOT RETROACTIVE
(MONTGOMERY)- – Attorney General Luther Strange announced that the Alabama
Supreme Court upheld the life without parole sentence of Jimmy Williams Jr. The Court thus
held that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits mandatory life without parole sentences
for juveniles in capital cases is not retroactive.
Williams was convicted of murder made capital because it was committed during a
robbery. Williams was a juvenile when he committed this crime, and Alabama law at the
time imposed a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
In 2012, after Williams was sentenced, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Miller v.
Alabama that life without parole sentences cannot be mandatory for juvenile offenders.
Williams asked the Alabama Supreme Court to consider whether this decision entitled him to
a new sentencing hearing. Today, the Alabama Supreme Court held that Miller “does not
apply retroactively to cases that became final before its pronouncement.” The U.S. Supreme
Court’s Miller decision relates only to the procedure used to sentence juvenile offenders. It
did not prohibit states from imposing life without parole sentences on juveniles convicted of
For these reasons, the Alabama Supreme Court denied Williams’ request for a new
sentencing hearing, concluding that his sentence is constitutional. As a result of today’s
decision, any juveniles who were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life without
parole before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama are not entitled to new
sentencing hearings based on that decision.
The Attorney General’s Capital Litigation Division handled the case during the
appeals process, and Solicitor General Andrew Brasher orally argued the case before the
Alabama Supreme Court. Attorney General Strange commended Solicitor General Brasher
and Assistant Attorney General Lauren Simpson for their successful work in this case.
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