Thursday, January 11, 2018
This is the thirty-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 New York treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.
New York has constructively banned a sentence of life without parole for juvenile offenders. Under New York law, juveniles are only eligible for a sentence of life without parole under New York Penal Law Section 490.25, which covers crimes of terrorism. No juvenile has ever been convicted under this section. Therefore, New York treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.