“Pennsylvania has the largest number of juvenile lifers in the United States and in the world,” Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, told CBS Philly.
She says there are more than 400 juvenile lifers in Pennsylvania, that’s roughly one-fifth of 2500 juvenile lifers nationwide.
“The reason why we have such a high number is because we have only one sentence available in Pennsylvania currently for juveniles convicted of first or second degree murder,” Levick told CBS Philly. “And that’s a mandatory sentence of life without parole.”
That’s because juveniles charged with murder are tried as adults.
“Now that the sentence has been ruled unconstitutional, obviously the courts in Pennsylvania will need to figure out what the new sentencing scheme will look like and the legislature will have a role in this,” Levick told CBS Philly.
Levick believed that about 300 juvenile-lifers filed their appeal by the of August 24. She says those who miss the deadline may be able to get help.