The Fourth Circuit yesterday granted the motion of Ronald Evans to filed a successive habeas application based on Graham v. Florida, 130 S.Ct. 2011 (2010), in which the Supreme Court held that the Constitution forbids the imposition of a sentence of life without parole for a juvenile not convicted of homicide. The panel’s unpublished opinion explains that Evans is currently serving a sentence of life imprisonment without parole after being convicted of six narcotics crimes and a criminal conspiracy that extended some time beyond his eighteenth birthday.
The government agreed that Graham could support a successive petition in an appropriate case. But the government disputed that this was such a case. The panel’s one-paragraph unpublished per curiam opinion explains neither the basis of the government’s position nor the panel’s reasons for rejecting it. The opinion states simply that the motion is granted “[b]ecause Evans has made a ‘prima facie showing’ that his ‘claim relies on a new rule of constitutional law made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable'” (quoting 28 U.S.C. 2244(b)(2)(A)).
The panel consisted of Judge Wilkinson, Judge Motz, and Judge Davis.