Death penalty outlawed for juveniles. Now life sentences are too.

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2016 | Criminal Defense |

The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling that offers hope for individuals serving life behind bars for indiscretions committed as teens.

The decision piggybacks off of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Four years ago, SCOTUS struck down a law that allowed judges to hand down life sentences with no possibility of parole for teenagers who commit certain offenses. Today, the new ruling extends to not just new offenders but those already behind bars.

The case surrounding the decision involves Henry Montgomery, a Louisiana man who had served a half of a century behind bars for a murder he committed in 1963 at the age of 17. He was handed down a life sentence without parole. He would spend the rest of his life in prison-until now.

He and so many others in his same situation now have hope for freedom. States are mandated to provide those in prison today with a new sentence or a parole opportunity.

“Prisoners like Montgomery must be given the opportunity to show their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption; and if it did not, their hope for some years of life outside prison walls must be restored,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the opinion.


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