Patricia Soung

Center for Juvenile Law & Policy post-graduate fellow appears before Illinois Supreme Court

Patricia Soung, post-graduate fellow at Loyola's Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, argued before the Illinois Supreme Court that her client's life sentence is unconstitutional. Coverage by the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ-FM included interviews with Soung. Aljazeera America's America Tonight also covered the story. An audiovisual archive of Patricia’s arguments is available here

Soung represents juvenile clients in Loyola's Juvenile Justice Clinic and the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic. As a staff attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, she became the supervising attorney for Adolfo Davis, who was tried and convicted as an adult for being an accomplice to murder when he was just 14 years old. Under Illinois state law, the conviction mandated a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

On Jan. 15, 2014, following the state’s appeal of a 2012  Illinois Appellate Court decision in favor of Davis, Soung argued before the Illinois Supreme Court that the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama applies retroactively to Davis' case, rendering his Illinois sentence indisputably unconstitutional and entitling him to a resentencing hearing. Miller v. Alabama ruled that any sentence to die in prison for a youth violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Soung argued that, as a rule of substance and a watershed rule, Miller v. Alabama retroactively protects the constitutional right of all youthful defendants to a consideration of age-related characteristics, mitigating circumstances, and the details of the offense when facing the possibility of a life sentence without parole, regardless of when the conviction occurred.