Ruling on minors' life sentences has small Wisconsin impact

Lee Boyd Malvo enters a courtroom in the Spotsylvania Va. Circuit Court. Malvo plead guilty and was sentenced to two life sentences for the murder of Kenneth

Vermont law already prohibits juvenile life without parole

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling stating juveniles can not automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole has not been an issue in Alaska. The jury recommended the death penalty, but before Jones could be sentenced, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. Last year, the court said the ruling applied to the more than 2,000 inmates already serving such sentences nationwide, and that all but the rare irredeemable juvenile offender should have a chance at parole.

Torres was initially sentenced to life without parole, but he was resentenced in 2014 to 110 years in prison, making him eligible for a sentence review and possible parole in 2019.

The New Jersey justices wrote that juveniles should be considered differently than adults at sentencing, particularly if the length of parole ineligibility amounts to a de facto life-without-parole sentence, as in the Zuber and Comer cases.

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The bill was introduced after a state Supreme Court ruling in January ordered resentencings for two men convicted of serious crimes they committed as juveniles. ME eliminated parole more than four decades ago, so all life sentences are imposed without the possibility of parole. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is pending.

The proposal also would have allowed juveniles to be eligible for a shot at parole after serving 15 years when their crimes didn't result in the death of someone.

The Supreme Court's findings apply "with equal strength to a sentence that is the practical equivalent of life without parole", the New Jersey court wrote, referring to the 2012 ruling in Miller v. Alabama.

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Since the law was changed, 14 juvenile offenders serving life have been resentenced.

In other states, dozens of offenders have been resentenced and some paroled, but Tennessee so far is not offering resentencing to its 13 juvenile life-without-parole inmates. But the one who committed his crime in Los Angeles County was resentenced and has since been paroled, while the petition was denied in neighboring San Bernardino County, a more traditionally conservative area.

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.

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