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In a pair of major criminal law decisions on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment does not allow sentences of life in prison without parole for juveniles who committed nonhomicide crimes and upheld a federal law permitting sexually dangerous inmates to be confined beyond their prison terms. In the juvenile case, Graham v. Florida (pdf), the Court said, “A state need not guarantee the offender eventual release, but if it imposes the sentence of life, it must provide him or her with some realistic opportunity to obtain release before the end of that term.”

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