A Year Later, Many States Have Not Acted on Court’s Juvenile Lifer Ruling


At least 15 states have not yet eliminated mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that those sentences for offenders under 18 are cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional, reports Stateline. At least 11 states have revisited their sentencing laws in response to the ruling, generally making juvenile killers eligible for a parole hearing after serving about 25 years.

In many states, legislatures and courts aren't sure how the Miller decision should apply to offenders who are already serving such sentences. Nationwide, there are more than 2,000 prisoners in 43 states serving life without parole sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles. That confusion stems from the fact that the ruling struck down mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles, but not all life sentences for those offenders.

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