A California man convicted of the 1985 murder of a high school classmate who had revealed the killer’s homosexuality is expected to be paroled this week after 21 years in custody, reports the Los Angeles Times. Robert Rosenkrantz was sentenced as an 18-year-old to an indefinite term of 17 years to life. He was told that he would be eligible for parole after nine years, and he conducted himself as what courts called a model prisoner. But as his parole was blocked repeatedly, he eventually became a symbol of California’s turn against rehabilitation, at least regarding murderers.
Rosenkrantz’s break came this summer when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Wesley noted that, in denying the inmate release, parole authorities repeatedly cited the gravity of the original offense, “the circumstances of which can never change.” The judge ruled that continued reliance on the original offense “runs contrary to the rehabilitative goals espoused by the prison system” and violated Rosenkrantz’s rights. Continued incarceration would “essentially convert [his] original sentence of life with the possibility of parole into a sentence of life without the possibility of parole,” Wesley said.