No life without parole in Hawaii for those younger than 18

No life without parole in Hawaii for those younger than 18

No life without parole in Hawaii for those younger than 18

Now 31, Priester is one of more than three dozen state inmates eligible for new sentences and a possible shot at release in the wake of Supreme Court decisions banning mandatory life without parole for minors.

Colorado has almost three dozen inmates who committed crimes as juveniles are serving virtual life sentences of 50 years or more, The Denver Post has reported. Such young offenders are barred from receiving that sentence in Kansas. Then a year ago, the court made its ruling retroactive, saying those already serving such sentences must be given a chance to show their crimes did not reflect "irreparable corruption" and, if they did not, have some hope for freedom.

The Juvenile Court backed a bill this past legislative session that would have allowed young offenders to be eligible for parole after 20 years for crimes that resulted in someone's death.

Based on that argument, California passed a law in 2012 allowing juvenile lifers to ask a judge for reduced sentences of 25 years to life with the possibility of parole. Craig Sutter, the agency's executive director, said he expects the decision will "open the floodgates" for appeals by those defendants.

In other counties, prosecutors want new natural life sentences for the overwhelming majority of inmates.

The Missouri Supreme Court continues to sort out such cases.

"This is a new area of the law", Sutter said. The district court was awaiting a final ruling in the Ali case. But he was resentenced to the same no-parole term after civil rights attorneys say the courts ignored his youth and hard childhood.

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

But an Associated Press review has found the gate of freedom slow to open, including in Oregon. It will be about nine years before the first offender is eligible to seek release. The response has prompted lawsuits in some states and accusations in others that prosecutors are dragging their feet or defying the high court's order to offer a second chance to all but the "worst of the worst" offenders.

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