The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether long prison sentences for children who are convicted of violent crimes violate the U.S. Constitution.
The justices said Monday they will take up appeals in two Florida cases challenging life sentences for teenagers. In one case, 13-year-old Joe Sullivan was convicted of raping an elderly woman. In the other, a judge determined that 17-year-old Terrance Graham took part in an armed home invasion robbery while he was on probation for an earlier violent crime.
Lawyers for both defendants asked the court to rule that life sentences with no possibility of parole for juveniles whose crimes did not involve murder violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
A Florida appeals court upheld both sentences.
Last year, the justices declined to consider an appeal of a 30-year prison sentence for a teen who was 12 when he killed his grandparents in their home.