Sullivan v. Florida

PETITIONER:Joe Harris Sullivan

DOCKET NO.: 08-7621
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2009-2010)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 560 US 181 (2010)
GRANTED: May 04, 2009
ARGUED: Nov 09, 2009
DECIDED: May 17, 2010

Bryan Stevenson – for the petitioner
Petitioner Scott D Makar – Solicitor General of Florida, for the respondent

Facts of the case

When Joe Sullivan was 13 years old, he was convicted of sexual battery by a Florida state court and sentenced to life in prison without parole. On appeal to the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Mr. Sullivan argued that his sentence was cruel and unusual and thus violated both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court of appeals affirmed Mr. Sullivan’s sentence without comment.


Does the imposition of a life sentence without parole on a 13 year old convicted of a non-homicidal offense violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments’ prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment?”

Media for Sullivan v. Florida

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 09, 2009 in Sullivan v. Florida

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – May 17, 2010 in Sullivan v. Florida

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

The Third case is Sullivan Versus Florida.

This case was argued — and case number 08-7621, Sullivan Versus Florida was argued on the same day as Graham.

In this case, the Court has issued a unanimous per-curium opinion and it states, the writ of certiorari is dismissed, is improvidently granted.