EvidenceProf Blog

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

Sunday, December 24, 2017

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

This is the twentieth 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 Maine treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee. 

According to U.S. New & World Report,

Many states are taking a new look at juvenile life without parole after a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year, but Maine has for decades avoided imposing life sentences on young people.

Only a juvenile tried as an adult can receive a life sentence in Maine, and the state attorney general's office said it's not aware of any cases where a juvenile has been sentenced to life. Maine eliminated parole more than four decades ago, so all life sentences are imposed without the possibility of parole.

Therefore, Maine has a constructive ban on juvenile life without parole sentences. As a result, Maine treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.


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