The American College of Trial Lawyers recognized the Miller Resentencing Project of Florida State University College of Law Public Interest Law Center’s Children in Prison Project with its 2013 Emil Gumpert Award.
The $50,000 first-place prize is funded by a grant from the Foundation of the American College of Trial Lawyers and will enable the Children in Prison Project to provide legal representation to children who are incarcerated in adult prisons in the wake of Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012). The Miller decision holds that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole in homicide cases are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
The Children in Prison Project is overseen by Paolo Annino, a clinical law professor at the FSU College of Law.
In 1995, Florida transferred 7,000 children to the adult criminal system, setting a precedent of sentencing and treating juveniles as adults, becoming the bellwether state for the rest of the nation as to transfers. Approximately 200 juveniles in Florida currently have the right to be resentenced under Miller, and with the $50,000 award, the Children in Prison Project will recruit pro bono attorneys and train law students to advocate on behalf of children who are entitled to reduction of their sentences or possible release.
The project is dedicated exclusively to advocating for this select population group and will serve as a model for replication in other states through its positive leadership by providing sentenced-to-life juveniles with a meaningful opportunity to obtain release.