EvidenceProf Blog

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cyntoia Brown & the "51-To-Life" Project: West Virginia

This is the forty-eighth 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 West Virginia treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.  

West Virginia Code Sections 61-11-23, 62-12-13b states in relevant part that

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole may not be imposed on a person who:

(1) Is convicted of an offense punishable by life imprisonment; and

(2) Was less than eighteen years of age at the time the offense was committed.

Therefore, West Virginia has banned juvenile life without parole sentences. As a result, West Virginia treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.



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