Friday, December 15, 2017
This is the thirteenth in a series of posts on the "51-To-Life" Project. In Tennessee, if a juvenile is convicted of first-degree murder, there are two sentencing options: (1) life without the possibility of parole; or (2) life with the possibility of parole, with that possibility only existing after the juvenile has been incarcerated for 51 years. In this post, I will explain why Idaho treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.
Idaho does allow for a sentence of life without parole for juvenile homicide offenders, and there are currently four former juveniles serving such sentences. There is also the option, however, of sentencing juvenile homicide offenders to sentences of life without the possibility of parole. Under Section 18-4004 of the Idaho Statutes,
If a jury, or the court if a jury is waived, does not find a statutory aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt or if the death penalty is not sought, the court shall impose a life sentence with a minimum period of confinement of not less than ten (10) years during which period of confinement the offender shall not be eligible for parole or discharge or credit or reduction of sentence for good conduct, except for meritorious service.
Therefore, juvenile homicide offenders could be eligible for parole after serving only ten years.