Oral arg. – COA – May 31, 2017 – juvenile resentenced to life w/o parole

At 10:30 the Court of Appeals will hear the case of Jerrard T. Cook v. State of Mississippi. 

Cook was charged with capital murder for the death of Marvin Durr committed in an attempt by Cook and one other to rob Durr. Cook pleaded guilty and the court sentenced him to serve “the rest of his natural life” in prison.  Cook was seventeen years old  at the time of the offense.  When  Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed. 2d 407 (2012) was decided nine years later, Cook filed for relief.   The trial court vacated Cook’s sentence and held a re-sentencing hearing after which the trial court  ordered Cook to serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

On appeal he raises three issues:

I.The Trial Court Erred in Sentencing Cook to Life -Without-Parole, as Cook is Not One of the “Uncommon” and “Rare” Juvenile Homicide Offenders Who May be Sentenced to Die in Prison.

II. Cook’s Sentence Was Imposed in Violation of His Constitutional Right to Have His Sentence Determined by a Jury.

III. Cook’ Sentence Must Be Vacated and He Must Be Re-sentenced to Life With Parole, Because the Practice of Sentencing Children to Life-Without-Parole Violates the Federal and State Constitutional Prohibitions Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

Jerrard Cook brief

States brief Jerrard Cook

Jerrard Cook reply brief

Watch the argument here.

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