TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – As judges continue to grapple with landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions about juvenile sentencing, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a minimum 25-year sentence for an inmate convicted of committing attempted murder when he was 17.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Sweltering Summer Temps Will Develop Into Stormy Day
The 4th District Court of Appeal rejected arguments that sentencing Blanchard St. Val to a minimum mandatory prison term of 25 years constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling came as courts carry out a pair of U.S. Supreme Court decisions aimed at preventing mandatory life sentences without the chance of parole for crimes committed by juveniles.
St. Val was sentenced to 37 years in prison, including the 25-year minimum mandatory sentence, after being convicted in a Palm Beach County case of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, attempted second-degree murder and two counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle, according to Wednesday’s ruling.
He was accused of shooting at two people in a car, wounding one in the arm and head.READ MORE: Elderly Dogs Abandoned In Pembroke Pines Get New Leash On Life
The ruling said St. Val’s attorney argued that “a minimum mandatory should not apply to juveniles because juveniles are inherently less mature, more prone to impulsive and reckless behavior, and morally less culpable than adults.”
But the three-judge panel rejected the constitutional arguments.
“Unlike life without parole and death sentences, appellant’s (St. Val’s) 25-year mandatory minimum sentence is not permanent and affords definite release,” said the ruling written by Judge Spencer Levine.MORE NEWS: BSO Seeks Man For Armed Burglary With Attemped Sexual Battery Of Child In Cooper City
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.