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June 8, 2009

House hearing on bill to eliminate juve LWOP sentences

As detailed at this page from The Sentencing Project, on Tuesday afternoon the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold an hearing on the "Juvenile Justice Accountability and Improvement Act of 2009," which includes provisions to eliminate life without parole sentences for juvenile offender.

This official House webpage list witnesses scheduled to testify (and may soon provide links to written testimony).  The bill being discussed can be accessed here, and one of its key provisions calls upon each State to "have in effect laws and policies under which each child offender who is serving a life sentence receives, not less than once during the first 15 years of incarceration, and not less than once every 3 years of incarceration thereafter, a meaningful opportunity for parole or other form of supervised release."

I do not think this bill is likely to get too much legislative traction, but it should be interested to see what gets said about juve LWOP while briefing is underway in the two juve LWOP cases, Graham and Sullivan, recently taken up by the Supreme Court (basics here and here).

Other recent posts on juve LWOP and the Graham and Sullivan cases:

June 8, 2009 at 04:35 PM | Permalink


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Congressmen Bobby Scott and John Conyers have introduced legislation to sentence victims of the most horrible crimes and victims' families to a lifetime of returning again and again to oppose the perpetrator's parole if he happened to be a day... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2009 5:06:47 PM


BTW, Doug, in Texas legislation eliminating LWOP for juvies passed the Legislature last month and is currently sitting on our Governor's desk (see a pdf of the bill language) awaiting his decision. Most think he'll sign it or at least allow it to become law, but he's given no solid indication. The bill substitutes a 40-year mandatory day-for-day minimum for LWOP in capital cases involving juveniles.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jun 9, 2009 7:33:33 AM

My community, Orinda, CA, was devastated in 1985 by the murder of a cheerleader by a classmate, Bernadette Protti. Ms. Protti was eventually caught with the help of the FBI, but could only be imprisoned until age 25. She never expressed any remorse and the crime received national attention and a TV story. She should still be in prison.

Posted by: Melinda P. Daugherty | Jun 16, 2009 12:29:52 PM

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