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Supreme Court to rule in juvenile life sentence, arbitration cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in two cases on Monday. In Montgomery v Louisiana [docket], the court was asked [cert. petition, PDF] to determine whether, in light of Miller v. Alabama [docket; JURIST report], collateral review is due retroactively to those sentenced to life in prison while they were still juveniles. Henry Montgomery is currently serving a life sentence after murdering a man in 1963 while he was 17. In Miller, the Supreme Court held that mandatory life sentences for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment [text] prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The court will now be asked to determine whether such a substantive rule in Miller should be applied retroactively.

In DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia [docket], the court has been asked [cert. petition, PDF] to decide whether the California Court of Appeals was correct in finding that the application of state law be preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act [Cornell LII backgrounder] when a federally-governed arbitration agreement makes reference to a state law. This case was raised when a consumer of DIRECTV services brought claims against the company after signing an agreement that compelled arbitration. However, the California Supreme Court [official website] in 2005 announced a rule invalidating many consumer arbitration agreements that contained class action waivers under state law. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] has offered a competing view of this situation, holding that no state law is immune to preemption of federal law, and that if a state law is preempted by federal law, it is null.

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