appropriate. It is certainly possible to contemplate a situation where a juvenile offender actively
participated in the planning of a crime resulting in the death of two or more individuals, such that
a sentence of natural life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is appropriate.” Miller,
202 Ill. 2d at 341.
Defendant cites Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 153 L. Ed. 2d 335, 122 S. Ct. 2242
(2002) in support of his argument that Miller announced a new substantive rule which should be
applied retroactively. In Atkins, the United States Supreme Court held that executions of
mentally retarded criminals were “cruel and unusual punishments” prohibited by the eighth
amendment. Atkins, 536 U.S. at 321, 153 L. Ed. 2d at 350, 122 S. Ct. at 2252. Courts that have
considered the issue of whether Atkins constitutes an exception to the Teague rule have
concluded that Atkins announced a new substantive rule that is retroactively applicable to cases
on collateral review. See Bowling v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, 163 S.W.3d 361 (Ky. 2005);
In re Holladay, 331 F.3d 1169 (11th Cir. 2003); Bell v. Cockrell, 310 F.3d 330 (5th Cir. 2002).
Unlike Atkins, which prohibited a category of punishment (i.e,. the death penalty) for a
class of defendants (i.e., mentally retarded criminals), the holding in Miller did not prohibit the
imposition of a natural life sentence for all juveniles or for all juveniles convicted based on a
theory of accountability. Instead, our supreme court, in Miller, concluded that the natural life
sentence was unconstitutionally disproportionate as applied to the Miller defendant. Miller, 202
Ill. 2d at 341. Indeed, in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 161 L. Ed. 2d 1, 125 S. Ct. 1183
(2005), the Supreme Court held that while the execution of individuals who were under 18 years
of age at time of their capital crimes is prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the
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