Sunday, January 21, 2018
This is the forty-second 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 South Dakota treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.
South Dakota Codified Laws Section 22-6-1 states in relevant part that
If the defendant is under the age of eighteen years at the time of the offense and found guilty of a Class A, B, or C felony, the maximum sentence may be a term of years in the state penitentiary, and a fine of fifty thousand dollars may be imposed.
Therefore, South Dakota does not allow for juvenile life offenses for Class A felonies, including first-degree murder. As a result, South Dakota treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.