Bombshell or Baby Step?

Missouri Law Review Symposium

March 8, 2013
Hulston Hall



Brochure (PDF)

Last year in Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide.

This year’s Missouri Law Review Symposium will focus on constitutional, practical and policy matters, regarding juveniles and sentencing more generally, that now challenge courts, legislatures and attorneys in the opinion’s wake. On the constitutional front, in what ways are adult offenders who are subject to mandatory sentencing schemes asking lower courts to extend Miller, and how are those courts replying? The Miller opinion extends the Court’s “death is different” doctrine to mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles: should that doctrine, requiring individualized sentencing, apply in other contexts? How are state legislatures and Congress responding — and how should they respond — in designing sentencing procedures for juvenile homicide offenders? What special challenges will attorneys face when representing a juvenile in a life-without-parole sentencing trial? Morally, to what extent, if any, do recent discoveries in developmental psychology and neuroscience shed normative light for courts and legislatures on juvenile.

Judge Nancy Gertner, Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School, will deliver the keynote address. She will be joined by eminent attorneys, inside and outside the academy, to explore these and other important questions regarding criminal sentencing in general and juvenile sentencing in particular.

Missouri Law Review 

Founded in 1936, the Missouri Law Review is one of the oldest legal journals published west of the Mississippi River. The law review has produced 77 volumes containing four issues each since the publication’s inception. The 2012-2013 law review is administered by 52 students.

Each year, law review members partner with faculty sponsors from the University of Missouri School of Law to host a symposium highlighting prominent legal issues and to discuss progressive solutions to complex policy challenges.

The University of Missouri will publish the papers featured in this year’s symposium in volume 78, issue 3 of the Missouri Law Review in the summer of 2013. Domestic subscriptions of this journal are available for $40; international subscriptions are $45. To view recent issues or request a subscription, please visit