Friday, January 19, 2024

Massachusetts Supreme Court 'emerging adults' entitled to parole

 The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that 18-year-old sentenced to life without parole is entitled to seek parole, reported the ABA Journal.

The U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders in Miller v. Alabama in 2012, holding that such sentences violate the Eighth Amendment when a youth’s individual characteristics are not allowed to be taken into account.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court went further in 2013, holding that any sentence of life without parole for juveniles under age 18 was unconstitutional.

Sheldon Mattis was 18 years old at the time of the fatal shooting and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Extending its 2013 decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held on Jan. 11 that “emerging adults” ages 18, 19 and 20 are entitled to the possibility of parole under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. That case is Commonwealth v. Mattis.

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