Justice Solomon continued in relevant part: Defendant also contends that, by counting juvenile-age crimes as predicate offenses, the Three Strikes Law deprives the offender of a meaningful opportunity to rehabilitate and reenter society as contemplated by Miller and Zuber. Defendant insists therefore that Miller and Zuber must necessarily change the outcome of our constitutional analysis. We disagree.
Miller and Zuber are intended to afford juveniles an opportunity for rehabilitation and ultimate release from incarceration. See Miller, 567 U.S. at 479 (finding that “children’s heightened capacity for change” necessarily limits the “appropriate occasions for sentencing juveniles to” life without parole); Zuber, (noting that “it is difficult at an early age to differentiate between the immature offender who may reform and the juvenile who is irreparably corrupt”). Thus, Miller and Zuber are uniquely concerned with the sentencing of juvenile offenders to lifetime imprisonment or its functional equivalent without the possibility of parole.
Defendant committed his second and third armed robberies as a twenty-three-year-old, and was therefore an adult being sentenced for a crime committed as an adult. There is nothing in Miller or Zuber that precludes application of a recidivist statute such as the Three Strikes Law to an adult defendant who meets the carefully considered statutory requirements set by the Legislature. Indeed, as we made clear in Oliver, the enhanced sentence under the Three Strikes Law is not imposed “‘as either a new jeopardy or additional penalty for earlier crimes,’ but instead as a ‘stiffened penalty for the latest crime.'” The Three Strikes Law thus applies to those offenders who “have forfeited the opportunity to attempt rehabilitation, having failed repeatedly to desist from serious criminal conduct.” State v. Galiano (App. Div. 2002). As an adult who committed a third armed robbery, defendant satisfied the statutory preconditions of the Three Strikes Law and was sentenced accordingly.
The Court again makes an unavailing argument about the Legislature’s “careful consideration.” Again, the court follows that with a strong point about an adult being given a stiff sentence for the current offense as opposed to retroactive punishment for a past juvenile offense.