Law students’ efforts on behalf of teen defendant mentioned in Salt Lake Tribune

A law professor and team of students from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law who petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take on the case of Robert Cameron Houston were mentioned in The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday.

Professor Michael Teter on Nov. 20 filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court on behalf of Houston, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2006 for killing a youth counselor when he was 17. Teter and students argued the time may be right for the high court to take the case, given a number of recent rulings on sentencing juveniles. Teter pointed to recent rulings from the high court, including cases where the court has held that it is unconstitutional to sentence juvenile offenders to the death penalty; that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life without parole for non-homicide offenses, and that it is unconstitutional for states to use a mandatory sentencing scheme that requires life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide.  

The high court declined to take the case this week, as chronicled in The Tribune.  Law students, however, will continue to work on pro bono cases in the future as part of the unique learning opportunities available at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Law students who worked on the case with Teter include Kyler O’Brien, Joe Amadon, Amy Pauli, as well as Richard Snow.  The case was one of several faculty and students associated with the S.J. Quinney College of Law have worked on as part of the college’s Pro Bono Initiative.