EvidenceProf Blog

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

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

This is the forty-fourth 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 Utah treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.  

Utah Code Section 76-3-209 states that

Notwithstanding any provision of law, a person may not be sentenced to life without parole if convicted of a crime punishable by life without parole if, at the time of the commission of the crime, the person was younger than 18 years of age. The maximum punishment that may be imposed on a person described in this section is an indeterminate prison term of not less than 25 years and that may be for life. This section shall only apply prospectively to individuals sentenced on or after May 10, 2016. 

Therefore, Utah does not allow for a juvenile life without parole sentence. As a result, Utah treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.



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