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Barry Feld 300

Barry Feld is a University of Minnesota law professor

University of Minnesota law expert available to discuss U.S. Supreme Court juvenile sentencing ruling

High Court cites U of M Law School professor's article in its opinion

May 18, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Graham v. Florida, ruled Monday that a state may not impose a sentence of life without parole (LWOP) on a juvenile offender for a crime in which no one is killed. An article in the New York Times noted that, except for death penalty cases, this is first time an entire class of offenders has been excluded from a given punishment. An expert who can discuss the opinion is:

Barry Feld, University of Minnesota Law School professor

Feld, a leading scholar of juvenile justice, has written extensively supporting states' formal recognition of youthfulness as a mitigating factor in sentencing juveniles in criminal court. The U.S. Supreme Court cited one of Feld's articles in its opinion: "Unmitigated Punishment: Adolescent Criminal Responsibility and LWOP Sentences," Journal of Law & Family Studies 10(1);2007:11-82.

"Although, the Graham decision is significant because it creates a categorical exception for sentencing youths," Feld says, "it provides very little practical relief for youths who simply become eligible for parole consideration in 40 or 50 years. And the court expressly states that eligibility for parole review does not guarantee release."

Feld teaches juvenile law, criminal procedure and torts. He has been a visiting scholar at the U.S. Department of Justice's National Center for Juvenile Justice and a visiting Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Study of Crime and Law Enforcement in Amsterdam. In 1974 and 1978, he served as Assistant Hennepin County Attorney in the Criminal and Juvenile Divisions. In 2008, he received the ABA's Livingston Hall Award for lawyers practicing in the juvenile delinquency field who have demonstrated skill, commitment, and professionalism in representing their young clients.

He has served many ABA, state and county committees dealing with legal representation of juveniles and other juvenile justice issues.

To interview Feld, contact Patty Mattern, University News Service, or (612) 624-2801; or Cynthia Huff, Law School, or (612) 625-6691.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect University experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

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