Law students ask U.S. Supreme Court to take up teen killer’s life sentence

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SALT LAKE CITY — A law professor and his students are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether a life without parole sentence for a 17-year-old convicted killer is excessive.

Robert Cameron Houston was sentenced to life without parole in 2007, when he was 17. He was convicted of raping and murdering Raechale Elton, who was a counselor at the youth home he was staying at. Houston has been appealing his sentence, arguing it is excessive for a juvenile. Earlier this year, the Utah Supreme Court upheld Houston’s sentence.

Robert Cameron Houston, in a 2006 jail booking mugshot from the Davis County Jail.

Robert Cameron Houston, in a 2006 jail booking mugshot from the Davis County Jail.

University of Utah law professor Michael Teter and a group of students at the SJ Quinney College of Law filed the petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, questioning if it is constitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without parole. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to execute juveniles for murder or sentence them to life without parole for non-homicide offenses.

Read the petition here: