Montana inmates seek new sentences for murders from age 17

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

Possible Re-Sentencing For Oklahoma's Juvenile Lifers

This undated provided by the Utah Department of Corrections in 2017 shows Morris Mullins.

Robert Cameron Houston took his appeal alleging his sentence was "cruel and unusual punishment" all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices declined to take the case. He received multiple life sentences.

And yet for those who have received these now-illegal life terms, the ruling's promise of resentencing and a chance at eventual release has so far been halting, inconsistent and often elusive, a 50-state examination by The Associated Press found.

In early 2016, the court told states to retroactively apply its 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide. Several states across America followed up with laws prohibiting such penalties in new cases.

In its rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court cites research showing that the brains of adolescents are still developing, making them susceptible to peer pressure and likelier to commit reckless acts without considering the long-term impact.

State figures show the Nevada law made 24 offenders eligible for sentence reviews.

As of February, 51 inmates were serving life-without-parole sentences in state prisons for crimes committed before age 18, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. The ruling was made retroactive previous year. That case isn't scheduled to go to trial until November of next year.

Iowa is among the most aggressive states in curtailing lengthy prison terms for juveniles due to Iowa Supreme Court rulings.

Under a measure signed into law a year ago by then-Gov.

Carey said that because juveniles convicted of first-degree murder had previously been sentenced to life without the chance for parole, they weren't always given an opportunity to participate in programs aimed at rehabilitation, including job training, substance abuse treatment and counseling. To impose life without parole, a jury must unanimously agree that prosecutors have proven additional factors, such as torture of the victim.

The legislation won broad support, passing 145-1 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.

Attorneys of capital murder offenders argue that the sentences are now clearly unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court rulings.

Bryant has filed a petition challenging his life-without-parole sentence.

Twenty-three were convicted on murder charges, one of armed robbery and one of kidnapping. Malvo's attorney, James Johnston, in June asked a Maryland judge to do the same, arguing that even though Malvo's life-without-parole sentence was discretionary, he deserves a new hearing that would allow a judge to adequately consider his age and circumstances at the time of the offense.

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