EvidenceProf Blog

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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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

This is the forty-seventh 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 Washington treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.  

Washington still allows for a juvenile life without parole sentence. RCW 9.94A.730(1), however, states that

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any person convicted of one or more crimes committed prior to the person's eighteenth birthday may petition the indeterminate sentence review board for early release after serving no less than twenty years of total confinement, provided the person has not been convicted for any crime committed subsequent to the person's eighteenth birthday, the person has not committed a disqualifying serious infraction as defined by the department in the twelve months prior to filing the petition for early release, and the current sentence was not imposed under RCW 10.95.030 or 9.94A.507.

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



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