Supreme Court Says Life In Prison Without Parole is Unconstitutional for Minors
The United States Supreme Court recently created new guidelines for sentencing juveniles convicted for murder in all fifty states.
The ruling stems from Miller V. Alabama which states that sentencing a minor (defined as a person under the age of eighteen at the time of the offense) to life imprisonment with no chance of parole is unconstitutional. Any juvenile sentenced to life in prison must become eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
In North Carolina, this new law has caused lawyers to reassess all of their clients who this change may have an impact. Now, more time and consideration is put into deciding the type of sentence for a juvenile facing a first-degree murder charge. If the sole conviction for an adolescent is made under the felony murder rule, then the court is obliged to sentence the defendant to life with parole. If the juvenile is not convicted solely based upon the felony murder rule, then the court shall conduct a hearing to decide the sentence for the defendant.
This new law not only applies to future convictions, but also to those waiting for sentencing, and any current inmates who have been serving time for a murder they committed while under the age of 18.
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