msnbc | May 17, 2010
>>> u.s. supreme court . they have just ruled teenagers, anyone under 18 years old, cannot be sentenced to a prison term for life without the chance of parole in nonmurder cases. there's actually another ruling coming in about sexually dangerous inmates about what happens to them after their prison terms. let's get the very latest now from nbc's justice correspondent pete williams outside of the supreme court . pete, good morning to you.
>> good morning. in a case in florida the supreme court said it's unconstitutional, cruel and unusual punishment to sentence juvenile offenders , those under 18 when their crimes were committed, to life without the possibility of parole if the offense they committed was not murder. so you could still sentence a juvenile defender to murder but not a juvenile offender for anything but murder. the vote on this was 6-3. somewhat surprising. conservative justice john roberts joined the majority opinion here. in the second case the vote was 7-2 to uphold a federal law that allows the federal prisons to continue to hold prisoners even after they have served their sentences if there's a suggestion they would continue to be sexually dangerous persons. the opinion written said the prisons have to have this authority, federal government has to have this authority. consider somebody with a dangero dangero dangero dangerous disease.
>> teenagers without parole, 11 defendants in the u.s. have been sentenced to life imprisonment without the chance of parole.
>> most of them were from florida . 77 of them were from florida . what the supreme court found while 37 states and the district of columbia have this hour to sentence juvenile offenders to life in prison for less than murder, in practice it's very seldom done. and florida was the most active user of the power.
>> what happens now for those teenagers. are they automatically put back into the hopper for sentencing and sentences are reversed or how does that work?
>> not reversed, but you know what i mean ?
>> they would be eligible for new sentences, that's correct.
>> nbc's pete williams at the supreme court . thanks.
>> you bet.