Vermont law already prohibits juvenile life without parole

Published: Jul. 31, 2017 at 10:29 AM EDT
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No juvenile in Vermont has ever been convicted of a crime that would have carried with it a sentence of life without parole.

Two years ago the Vermont Legislature passed a law prohibiting such sentences.

Democratic state Sen. Richard Sears is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he says Vermont's action was part of a national push. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles in homicide cases, and last year applied the ruling to those already in prison.

Sears says that as more has been learned about brain development and juvenile crime, it didn't make sense to sentence juveniles to life without parole, no matter how horrific the crime.

He said there was little opposition to the proposal.

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