Is a 112-year rape sentence unconstitutional for teens?

Brandon Moore received a 112-year sentence for RAPING, KIDNAPPING, and ROBBING a Youngstown State University student

On Thursday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a 112-year sentence given to a man who was 15 when he committed rape, robbery, and kidnapping, was unconstitutional. The lengthy sentence didn’t give the inmate a chance for parole and rehabilitation.

New York Daily News reports that Brandon Moore was tried as an adult for the 2001 rape, robbery, and armed kidnapping of a Youngstown State University student. Moore, along with an accomplice, abducted the student at gunpoint while she was on her way to an evening work shift. After raping her repeatedly, he let her go. Earlier that evening, he robbed two people at gunpoint.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that teens should be given a chance at parole, as long as they aren’t behind bars for murder. The justices said that Moore’s sentence runs against the 2010 decision, Graham v. Florida. However, the issue with Moore, now 29, was that he had multiple charges stacked against him. Justice Paul Pfeifer wrote for the majority that the number of crimes Moore committed and the facts surrounding the case, “do not engender a sense of sympathy for him.”

The Supreme Court was divided over Moore’s case. Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote for the minority that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling never addressed issues where there were stacked charges against juvenile offenders. Prosecutors argued that having stacked charges (as Moore does) would indeed make his 112-year sentence constitutional, while Moore’s attorneys argued that it “defies science and common sense to think that a 112-year sentence is anything but life without parole.”

Regardless, the court’s 4-3 ruling found Moore’s sentence unconstitutional. In a separate decision on Thursday, the Ohio Supreme Court also ruled that it’s unconstitutional to have a mandatory ruling that felony juvenile cases are to transfer to adult court.

[Feature photo by the Ohio Department of Corrections]