Sunday, March 22, 2015

Florida provides juveniles offenders with opportunity for parole

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that juvenile convicts sentenced to more than 25 years in prison now have the right to a judicial review of their sentences, according to WLPG-TV.
While considering each individual's capacity for rehabilitation, judges have to determine sentences in accordance with the 2-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision prohibiting sentences of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The U.S. Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama, no longer allows a juvenile to be automatically sentenced to life for committing murder. Life sentences are still allowed, but the case mandates an "individualized" sentencing hearing.  Graham v. Florida  held that a juvenile cannot be sentenced to life or a term of years equal to life for a non-homicide crime.
The question remains, "What term of years will the court consider not equal to life?"
The four Florida Supreme Court decisions recently released --  Horsley v. State,  the case of   Falcon v. State, the case of Henry v. State, and Gridine v. State -- change sentencing structure for juvenile defendants who commit both homicide and non-homicide.
In the case of Shimmeka Gridine, who is now 20, the court tossed a 70 year sentence. Gridine will return to Jacksonville to be re-sentenced.
All of the decisions on the new rules for juvenile defendants were unanimous. If a killer is freed, there must be a minimum of five years probation period.
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