Maryland Abolishes Life Sentences Without Parole For Juveniles

Life-without-parole sentences for juveniles have been abolished in Maryland as the state’s general assembly overturned two vetoes from Governor Larry Hogan.

Senate Bill 494 and House Bill 409 are called the Juvenile Restoration Act and they require authorities to sentence minors convicted as adults to less than the legal minimum term and prohibit courts from imposing life sentences.

Senator Chris West from Baltimore County said he thought the bill strikes a good balance.

“This bill is not a get-out-of-jail free card. This bill doesn’t offer any person incarcerated in a Maryland corrections facility the promise or the assurance of release.”

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Pritzker Commutes Life Sentence Of Man Who Claims Burge Cops Tortured Him Into Confessing

Reed’s criminal defense attorney said he’ll continue to push to have Reed’s conviction vacated.

Reed, who’s in Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, was convicted of the fatal shootings of Pamela Powers and Willie Williams on the South Side. Reed said he was forced to confess. He said detectives beat him so badly they dislodged a metal rod in his leg.

Those detectives worked for Burge, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2010 in connection with his testimony in a lawsuit accusing him of torture. Burge served a four-year federal prison sentence and died in September 2018.

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Prosecutors And Judge Agree That After 20 Years In Prison, Troubled Mother Deserves Mercy And A New Shot At Life

In an interview after the decision, Coleman, who has prosecuted countless murders, reflected on the complexity of 20-year story and why the resentencing could be called just too.

“I will tell you that at the time, I thought that 30 years was not enough for her,” Coleman said. “But 21 years has passed and she has done extraordinarily well. I think that is something we have to acknowledge — that is, one of the things justice is and what justice looks like. If someone is not the same person. If they have gotten better. And they have done everything we could expect of them and the family is forgiving them. I think that is part of seeking a safer society.”

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Virginia’s Move To End Capital Punishment Has A Major Flaw

Any day now, with Governor Ralph Northam’s signature, Virginia will eliminate the death penalty.

The news is cause for celebration. Since 1976, Virginia has executed more people than any other state except Texas. Now, Virginia joins a growing wave of states that have rejected this punishment and chosen to make our criminal justice system more humane, equitable and fair.

But the movement to end capital punishment also has a major flaw. It pushes for another form of in-prison death: life without the possibility of parole. Commonly referred to as LWOP, this sentence is frequently touted as a humane alternative to the death penalty. But LWOP is also deeply problematic and riddled with many of the exact same problems as the death penalty.

In the end, sentenced people are still condemned to die in prison, but LWOP sentences receive far less scrutiny by our justice system than death sentences.

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