Four Of Five New Hampshire Juvenile Lifers Await Resentencing

Vermont law already prohibits juvenile life without parole

Five years ago, the Supreme Court barred mandatory life-without-parole sentences for anyone under 18 convicted of murder.

Devonere Simmonds of Columbus is serving a life sentence without parole for a July 2013 crime spree that left two people dead, when Simmonds was 17. To punish youths with the same severity as adults and to then make those sentences mandatory - taking away any discretion to weigh each offender individually - fails to consider that difference or the potential for rehabilitation, the court said in determining that no-release sentences are unconstitutional for all but the rare juvenile whose crimes reflect "permanent incorrigibility". He won't be eligible to seek parole until he serves 90 years, which his attorneys say amounts to a life sentence. To impose life without parole, a jury must unanimously agree that prosecutors have proven additional factors, such as torture of the victim.

The Missouri Supreme Court.

New Jersey's Department of Corrections doesn't keep track of how many inmates are serving lengthy "de facto" life terms for crimes committed as juveniles, but Shalom said the number is "in the double digits". About three dozen offenders would be eligible for hearings over the next three years, though there's no guarantee they'd be paroled. No so-called juvenile lifers have been released on parole.

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.

For now, petitions for resentencing hearings are handled differently from county to county and even between judges in the same courthouse.

Davis has argued that he should be eligible for parole after serving 25 years and maintains that the 51-year provision means he has essentially been condemned to serve the rest of his life behind bars.

There is at least one case in Tennessee courts that challenges the 51-year sentence.

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