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Name: In re Nunez
Case #: G040377
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/30/2009

An LWOP sentence for a 14-year old for a non-homicide crime was cruel and unusual punishment. In a habeas petition, appellant challenged his sentence of LWOP for the kidnaping for ransom he committed when he was 14 years old. The appellate court vacated his sentence and remanded for resentencing. A statutory scheme that punishes the youngest juvenile offenders more harshly for kidnap than for murder is not merely suspect, but shocks the conscience and violates human dignity. Incapacitating the petitioner for longer than a murderer serves no penological purpose and defies logic. Because petitioner is the only known offender under age 15 across the country and around the world subjected to an LWOP sentence for a non-homicide, no-injury offense, the court also concluded his severe sentence is so freakishly rare as to constitute arbitrary and capricious punishment violating the Eighth Amendment.