United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the petition of Missouri state
prisoner Carlos Saddler, who is represented by counsel, for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For
the reasons set forth below, federal habeas relief will be
record establishes that, on February 27, 1998, Petitioner was
sentenced in Missouri state court to a mandatory term of life
without parole after being convicted of crimes he committed
when he was under 18 years old. On June 25, 2012, the United
States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Miller v.
Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), in which it held that the
Eighth Amendment prohibits mandatory sentences of life
without parole for juvenile offenders. The Court reasoned
that “[m]andatory life without parole for a juvenile
precludes consideration of his chronological age and its
hallmark features-among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and
failure to appreciate risks and consequences, ” the
“family and home environment that surrounds him-and
from which he cannot usually extricate himself-no matter how
brutal or dysfunctional, ” the “circumstances of
the homicide offense, ” and “the possibility of
rehabilitation . . . .” Id. at 477-78.
January 27, 2016, in the case Montgomery v.
Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), the Supreme Court held
that Miller announced a new substantive
constitutional rule that applied retroactively to cases on
collateral review. 136 S.Ct. at 736. But the Court clarified
that this retroactive application “does not require
States to relitigate sentences, let alone convictions, in
every case where a juvenile offender received mandatory life
without parole. A State may remedy a Miller
violation by permitting juvenile homicide offenders to be
considered for parole, rather than by resentencing
them.” Id. As to this remedy, the Court cited
a Wyoming statute that allows a juvenile convicted of
homicide to be eligible for parole after 25 years of
incarceration. Id. (citing Wyo. Stat. Ann. §
6-10-301(c) (2013)). The Court specifically held that
“[a]llowing those offenders to be considered for parole
ensures that juveniles whose crimes reflected only transient
immaturity-and who have since matured-will not be forced to
serve a disproportionate sentence in violation of the Eighth
on Miller and Montgomery, Petitioner filed
a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in state court on June
22, 2013. On March 15, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court
issued an order that applied to Petitioner's case and
other similarly situated cases. The order stated that the
Missouri General Assembly had yet to enact a constitutionally
valid sentencing provision in accordance with Miller
and Montgomery. Therefore, the Missouri Supreme
Court held that Petitioner and those similarly situated shall
be eligible to apply for parole after 25 years'
imprisonment on their sentences of life without parole unless
their sentences were otherwise brought into conformity with
Miller and Montgomery by the action of the
governor or enactment of necessary legislation. Following
this ruling, Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration or
for resentencing in the Missouri Supreme Court.
March 17, 2016, Petitioner filed this federal habeas
petition, arguing that the Missouri Supreme Court's March
15, 2016 order violated his constitutional rights because it
constituted an illegal alteration of the unlawful sentence
imposed on Petitioner.
19, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court entered an order
vacating its March 15, 2016 order, overruling as moot the
motions for reconsideration or resentencing filed by
Petitioner and others, and denying Petitioner's and
others' state court petitions for habeas corpus, all in
light of in light of the enactment of Missouri Senate Bill
No. 590 (“SB 590”). SB 590, signed into law on
July 13, 2016, and codified at Mo. Rev. Stat. § 558.047,
states, in relevant part:
1. Any person sentenced to a term of imprisonment for life
without eligibility for parole before August 28, 2016, who
was under eighteen years of age at the time of the commission
of the offense or offenses, may submit to the parole board a
petition for a review of his or her sentence regardless of
whether the case is final for purposes of appeal, after
serving twenty-five years of incarceration.
. . . .
4. The parole board shall hold a hearing and determine if the
defendant shall be granted parole.
5. In a parole review hearing under this section, the board
shall consider, in addition to the factors listed in section
(1) Efforts made toward rehabilitation since the offense or
offenses occurred, including participation in educational,
vocational, or other programs ...