EvidenceProf Blog

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

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

This is the forty-ninth 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 Wisconsin treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.  

Wisconsin still allows for a juvenile life without parole sentence. Wisconsin Statutes Section 304.06(b), however, states that

Except as provided in s. 961.49 (2), 1999 stats., sub. (1m) or s. 302.045 (3)302.05 (3) (b)973.01 (6), or 973.0135, the parole commission may parole an inmate of the Wisconsin state prisons or any felon or any person serving at least one year or more in a county house of correction or a county reforestation camp organized under s. 303.07, when he or she has served 25 percent of the sentence imposed for the offense, or 6 months, whichever is greater. Except as provided in s. 939.62 (2m) (c) or 973.014 (1) (b) or (c)(1g) or (2), the parole commission may parole an inmate serving a life term when he or she has served 20 years, as modified by the formula under s. 302.11 (1) and subject to extension under s. 302.11 (1q) and (2), if applicable. The person serving the life term shall be given credit for time served prior to sentencing under s. 973.155, including good time under s. 973.155 (4). The secretary may grant special action parole releases under s. 304.02. The department or the parole commission shall not provide any convicted offender or other person sentenced to the department's custody any parole eligibility or evaluation until the person has been confined at least 60 days following sentencing.

Therefore, a juvenile homicide offender in Wisconsin could be released after serving twenty years. As a result, Wisconsin treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.



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This information is outdated-it is only applicable to persons who were convicted generally prior to 2000. We no longer have parole in Wisconsin. I will send you the present law if you give me an email address to send it to.

Posted by: robert donohoo | Jan 26, 2018 6:41:22 AM

Thanks. You can send it to Miller933@law.sc.edu

There must be some possibility of parole for juvenile offenders, though, because there can't be be a mandatory juvenile life without parole sentence.

Posted by: Colin Miller | Jan 26, 2018 5:59:01 PM

Is it Section 973.014, which also allows for release after 20 years?

Posted by: Colin Miller | Jan 26, 2018 6:02:03 PM

Yes-it is 973.014 and 302.114.

Posted by: robert donohoo | Jan 28, 2018 9:13:50 AM

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