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Criminal Law

Michigan Law Review

Law reform

2013

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Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2013

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

Since the turn of the century, the Supreme Court has regulated noncapital sentencing under the Sixth Amendment in the Apprendi line of cases (requiring jury findings of fact to justify sentence enhancements) as well as under the Eighth Amendment in the Miller and Graham line of cases (forbidding mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile defendants). Although both lines of authority sound in individual rights, in fact they are fundamentally about the structures of criminal justice. These two seemingly disparate doctrines respond to structural imbalances in noncapital sentencing by promoting morally appropriate punishment judgments that are based on individualized input and that …