EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cyntoia Brown & the "51-To-Life" Project: Maryland

This is the twenty-first 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 Maryland treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee. 

Maryland still allows for a sentence of life without parole for juvenile homicide offenders. Maryland also allows for a sentence of life with the possibility of parole, and Section 6-222 of the Maryland Code of Criminal Procedure, however, states in relevant part that

(a) A circuit court or the District Court may:

(1) impose a sentence for a specified time and provide that a lesser time be served in confinement;

(2) suspend the remainder of the sentence; and

(3) (i) order probation for a time longer than the sentence but, subject to subsections (b) and (c) of this section, not longer than:

1. 5 years if the probation is ordered by a circuit court; or

2. 3 years if the probation is ordered by the District Court

So far, the lightest sentence I have seen for a person convicted of first-degree murder in Maryland is life imprisonment with all but twenty years suspended. See Bonilla v. StateWilder v. State, Appellant's Brief and Appendix 2017 WL 5467932 (Md.App. 2017). Therefore, a juvenile homicide offender could be released after serving twenty years, possibly less. As a result, Maryland treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.

-CM

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2017/12/this-is-the-twentieth-in-a-series-of-posts-on-the-51-to-life-projectin-tennessee-if-a-juvenile-is-convicted-of-first-degree-1.html

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