Vermont law already prohibits juvenile life without parole
Vermont law already prohibits juvenile life without parole
Court orders parole board to consider offender's age at the time of the crime
01 August, 2017, 22:57
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles in homicide cases, and past year applied the ruling to those already in prison.
No juvenile in Vermont has ever been convicted of a crime that would have carried with it a sentence of life without parole.
Five years ago, the Supreme Court barred mandatory life-without-parole sentences for anyone under 18 convicted of murder.
ME has among the nation's lowest incarceration rates, and the number of minors behind bars dwindled to 186 in 2010 from 381 in 1995. But the multistep process doesn't guarantee a hearing, and California's justices ruled previous year that it therefore fails to meet the Supreme Court's decisions.
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. They generally aren't eligible for that until they've served 40 years.
Both Shalom and the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, a Washington, D.C. -based advocacy group, said there are no inmates serving life without parole in New Jersey for crimes they committed as juveniles.
For now, petitions for resentencing hearings are handled differently from county to county and even between judges in the same courthouse.
In recent years, the age of juvenile court jurisdiction for most crimes has been raised to those 17 and younger.
Ricky Zuber was sentenced for his role in two gang rapes to 110 years in prison with 55 years of parole ineligibility. To impose life without parole, a jury must unanimously agree that prosecutors have proven additional factors, such as torture of the victim.
Separately, the state's high court found in two other July decisions that it's OK in some cases for juveniles convicted of multiple crimes to serve consecutive sentences that effectively amount to life in prison.
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"As far as I can tell he is a model prisoner and is as rehabilitated as one can imagine", said Michael Risher, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represents Taylor.
A bill introduced in March would reduce the maximum period of parole ineligibility for juveniles who are sentenced as adults to 20 years. If he becomes eligible for parole he could be freed as early as next year, 25 years after his arrest, Risher said. It's even more hard for offenders with mental health, language or other barriers, said Calvin, the Human Watch advocate Rights.
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