NC Supreme Court To Consider Mandatory Life Sentences For Juveniles

May 5, 2014

Credit North Carolina Department of Public Safety

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Supreme Court will consider whether or not to allow parole for criminals charged with life sentences as juveniles before 2012.

The case is a response to the 2012 Miller v. Alabama decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It held that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles were unconstitutional. The hearing in North Carolina is to determine whether or not to apply that decision retroactively.

"We represent about 50 or 60 inmates currently affected by these laws," said Allison Standard, a post-conviction attorney for the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. "I'm not aware of anybody that would be parole eligible right now, but there are some coming up."

"Parole is difficult and these inmates are not going to be automatically paroled, " said Standard. It could take years if the inmates are not doing all that is required of them.

Standard spoke with WUNC's Phoebe Judge about the case and what it might mean for some of her clients.