Medicine

No life sentences without parole for juveniles in Alaska

No life sentences without parole for juveniles in Alaska

Supreme Court decisions that barred states from imposing mandatory life-without-parole sentences aren't affecting the District of Columbia.

Both Shalom and the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, a Washington, D.C. -based advocacy group, said there are no inmates serving life without parole in New Jersey for crimes they committed as juveniles.

That's because city law has prohibited life-without-parole sentences for juveniles for decades.

The court found that the harshest punishments levied against adult criminals may be unconstitutionally cruel and unusual for juveniles due to their lack of development and potential for change. He won't be eligible to seek parole until he serves 90 years, which his attorneys say amounts to a life sentence.

The Missouri Supreme Court.

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Three of the 38 have been resentenced to terms ranging from 30 to 40 years.

New Jersey's Department of Corrections doesn't keep track of how many inmates are serving lengthy "de facto" life terms for crimes committed as juveniles, but Shalom said the number is "in the double digits". The Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether lengthy alternative sentences to life without parole are constitutional, Marsha Levick of the national Juvenile Law Center said, but she believes those cases eventually will be taken up.

Another roughly 100 former teen offenders in the state must serve the minimum 51 years before parole eligibility, records from the Tennessee Department of Correction show. The youngest at the time of his crime was Jason Bryant, who was 14 when he and five others kidnapped the Lillelid family from a rest stop in eastern Tennessee and killed the mother, father and their 6-year-old daughter and wounded the couple's 2-year-old son. Those inmates could join the program after serving 20 years or 25 years if convicted of first-degree murder.

Previously, juveniles in the state who were convicted of killing police officers or killing other juveniles during commission of a sex crime could be automatically sentenced to live out their lives behind bars. The appeals court left his sentence in place.


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