A Debate within the Virginia Supreme Court: De Facto Life Sentences for Juveniles and the Eighth Ame

On February 12, 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down its decision in two consolidated appeals, Darien Vasquez v. Commonwealth of Virginia, (Record No. 141071), and Brandon Valentin v. Commonwealth of Virginia, (Record No. 150357). See Vasquez v. Commonwealth, ___ Va. ___, 781 S.E.2d 920 (2016). The cases originated in the Rockingham County Circuit Court. Vasquez and Valentin, co-defendants, appealed their convictions for a host of violent felony offenses. The prosecutions arose from their armed burglary of an occupied townhome. In addition to the burglary, the crimes they committed together included such offenses as rape, forcible sodomy, inanimate object sexual penetration, abdu

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