EvidenceProf Blog

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

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

This is the forty-third 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 Texas treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.  

Texas Code Annotated Section 12.31 states that

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state seeks the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life without parole or by death. An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state does not seek the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for:

(1) life, if the individual committed the offense when younger than 18 years of age; or

(2) life without parole, if the individual committed the offense when 18 years of age or older.

Therefore, Texas does not allow for a juvenile life without parole sentence based upon a first-degree murder conviction. As a result, Texas treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.

-CM

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2018/01/this-is-the-forty-third-in-a-series-of-posts-on-the-51-to-life-projectin-tennessee-if-a-juvenile-is-convicted-of-first-degr.html

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