LWOP News | March 22, 2019

Death penalty moratorium in California –what it means for the state and for the nation

Hadar Aviram
20 March 2019

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on the death penalty in the state. A US Hastings law student argues in the San Fransisco Chronicle that now the line between the death penalty and LWOP sentences will be more blurred, but that the new use of LWOP cases may save the state money.


18 teen killers released under SJC ruling

Christian M. Wade
19 March 2019

63 Massachusetts inmates were affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling that eliminated LWOP sentences for juveniles convicted of first-degree murder. The Massachusetts State Parole Board has held hearings for 43 of those inmates, denying parole to 25, and granting eventual release to 18. This article is informative, but I struggle with the way that it continues to refer to those pending decisions about parole as “teen killers.”


Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Juvenile Justice Legacy is Under Assault in the D.C. Sniper Case

Mark Joseph Stern
18 March 2019

This article begins by discussing Justice Anthony. Kennedy’s role in Montgomery v. Louisiana. It suggests that the Supreme Court’s decision in Mathena v. Malvo has the potential to undermine Montgomery, especially because Justice Brent Kavanaugh now serves in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s place. Lee Boyd Malvo as 17 when he served as an accomplice in 10 murders, known as the “D.C. sniper” shootings. Malvo now is seeking a new sentence after the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Malvo has the right to resentencing to determine whether his “crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility,” the language from the Montgomery decision. Malvo’s attorneys will argue that the state of Virginia is effectively trying to overturn Montgomery by bringing this to the Supreme Court. This will be a good case to watch to see the future of juvenile LWOP.


New Zealand mosque killer faces ‘unprecedented’ sentence

18 March 2019

The man who killed 50 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand will likely face life without parole, the heaviest sentence imposed in New Zealand since the death penalty was eliminated in 1961. New Zealand typically sentences those convicted of murder to 10 years before the possibility of parole, which is why this case is considered to be “unprecedented.”


U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider split jury verdicts, prompted by New Orleans case 

Matt Sledge and Gordon Russell
18 March 2019

The US Supreme Court announced it would add a Louisiana case to its hearing docket to evaluate whether divided juries can convict felony defendants in state courts. While only two states, Oregon and Louisiana have allowed split juries to convict felony defendants, this case still has potential to affect “an untold number of cases.” The Supreme Court will likely hear the case in November or December of 2019. This case has implications for LWOP because approximately 2,000 of Louisiana’s 4,800 prisoners serving LWOP were convicted by split juries.


How decades of court battles freed this juvenile lifer

Darcie Moran
13 March 2019

This piece nicely profiles how the Supreme Court’s recent decision to end LWOP for juveniles in most cases helped Trevor Brownlee, a Michigan man, find freedom in September 2018.


PBS NewsHour ‘Brief but Spectacular’ interview with Judy Woodruff 

Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour interviewed Terun Moore, a Mississippi man who was sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile. Moore was released in 2018 and is now working with a non-profit to reduce violence in Jackson, Mississippi

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