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Supreme Court ruling offers new hope of appeal for some convicts

The state of Wisconsin has laws in place that protect the privacy and safety of juveniles when they commit a crime, or are accused of committing a crime. Because juvenile crimes are often committed before the person is old enough or mature enough to understand the consequences of their actions, there are often limits on how severe the sentence of the juvenile can be. Some juveniles are only children or teenagers when they commit crimes that are serious enough to have them sentenced to life in prison.

Close to 3,000 convicts may be affected by a Supreme Court ruling that defined life in prison as being too cruel a punishment for a minor who committed a crime. The first hearing for resentencing after the decision ended with the person getting the same sentence, possibly because he asked his lawyers to not argue for him.

In one state, four convicted murderers are hoping to get new hearings to overturn their life sentences. The men feel they deserve a new hearing after the Supreme Court ruling, while prosecutors believe the men have had their last chance, since they have exhausted all appeals that are given to them under the law.

Although the men may have used up all their appeals, the ruling could change the way the law sees the men’s sentences. The attorneys for the men may be hoping to secure a new hearing as a way to give their clients a chance at rehabilitation, and to live a life outside of prison, despite the crimes they may have committed when they were minors.

Source: Seascoastonline, “4 N.H. convicts seek resentencing for juvenile crime,” Lynne Tuohy, May 13, 2013

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