Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Budder v. Addison, 2017 WL 1056094 (March 21, 2017) (OK)

The panel grants Budder’s habeas petition and vacates his three consecutive life sentences. Relying on Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), the panel finds that Budder’s consecutive life sentences imposed when he was a juvenile violate the Eighth Amendment. It reasons that Graham imparted a categorical rule that the Eighth Amendment is violated in any case in which a juvenile offender who did not commit homicide receives a sentence that would deny him a realistic opportunity to be released. Although, Oklahoma had already amended Budder’s sentences from life without parole to life with parole, because his sentences were consecutive he would have to serve 131.75 years before he would be eligible for parole. Naturally, that term is too long to offer him a realistic opportunity to obtain release. Therefore, the panel held that in light of the clearly established federal law announced in Graham, the state court’s judgment sustaining Budder’s sentences was unjustified.