EN BANC ORDER
D. COLEMAN, JUSTICE.
the Court is Jonsha Bell's Application for Leave to File
Motion for Post-Conviction Relief. Also before the Court are
the State of Mississippi's Response in Opposition to
Application for Leave to File Motion for Post-Conviction
Relief, and Bell's Reply to State's Response in
Opposition to Application for Leave to File Motion for
1995, Bell was convicted of armed robbery, burglary, and two
counts of kidnapping. Bell committed the offenses when he was
seventeen years old. He was sentenced as a habitual offender
to serve aggregate sentences totaling ninety-five years
without the possibility of parole. In the instant petition,
Bell asserts that his sentences are tantamount to an illegal,
life-without-parole sentence for a juvenile, non-homicide
offender. See Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48, 130
S.Ct. 2011, 176 L.Ed.2d 825 (2010) (Eighth Amendment
prohibits imposition of life-without-parole sentences on
juvenile, non-homicide offenders).
due consideration, the Court finds that Bell's petition
is without merit and should, therefore, be denied.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Jonsha Bell's Application for
Leave to File Motion for Post-Conviction Relief is hereby
DENY: WALLER, C.J., RANDOLPH, P.J., COLEMAN, MAXWELL, BEAM
AND CHAMBERLIN, JJ.
GRANT: KITCHENS, P.J., KING AND ISHEE, JJ.
J., OBJECTS TO THE ORDER WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT
JOINED BY KITCHENS, P.J., AND ISHEE, J.
JUSTICE, OBJECTING TO THE ORDER WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN
Pursuant to the Eighth Amendment of the United States
Constitution, "[e]xcessive bail shall not be required,
nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual
punishments inflicted." U.S. Const. amend. VIII; see
also Miss. Const. art 3, § 28 ("Cruel or
unusual punishment shall not be inflicted, nor excessive
fines be imposed."). The United States Supreme Court, in
Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48, 130 S.Ct. 2011, 176
L.Ed.2d 825 (2010), held that the Eighth Amendment barred
courts from sentencing juvenile nonhomicide offenders to life
without parole. Because aggregate term-of-years sentences
that leave a defendant without an opportunity to obtain
release are the fundamental equivalent of life without
parole, I disagree with the majority's order denying
Jonsha Bell's petition for post-conviction relief.
Bell, in the aggregate, was sentenced to serve ninety-five
years for crimes committed when he was just seventeen years
old. I would find that Bell's sentences violate the
Supreme Court's holding in Graham, which
mandated that "the State must . . . give defendants like
Graham some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on
demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation."
Graham, 560 U.S. at 75. The Supreme Court reasoned
that "life without parole is 'the second most severe
penalty permitted by law.'" Id. at 71
(quoting Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S.
957, 1001, 111 S.Ct. 2680, 115 L.Ed.2d 836 (1991)). It shares
characteristics with the death penalty that no other sentence
shares. Id. As the Court stated, a life without
parole sentence guarantees that a juvenile offender
will die in prison without any meaningful opportunity to
obtain release, no matter what he might do to demonstrate
that the bad acts he committed as a teenager are not
representative of his true character, even if he spends the
next half century ...