After Court Ruling, FL Mulls New Penalties for Ex-Juvenile Lifers


Kyan Bucknor was 15 in 1999 when he shot two patrons and a Broward County sheriff’s deputy outside a nightclub. He was sentenced to life in prison. But Bucknor, now 26, will get a reprieve thanks to a May U.S. Supreme Court decision banning life-without-parole sentences for juveniles who did not kill anyone, reports the Miami Herald. The ruling left Florida in a quandary: For undeniably violent crimes, what is an appropriate alternative sentence in a state that has no parole system?

Bucknor is one of 23 South Florida men — among 100-plus statewide, the most in the nation — who must now be resentenced under the Graham v. Florida ruling. So far, none have received new prison terms as the judicial system struggles to comply, case by case. But since keeping criminals like Bucknor behind bars for good is no longer an option, prosecutors and defense attorneys are staking out their positions, each seeking a solution that passes constitutional muster yet delivers justice for both defendants and victims. Two possible fixes have emerged, from prosecutors and a lawmaker, both requiring mandatory lengthy prison terms followed by the possibility of parole.

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