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Massachusetts High Court Strikes Down Life Sentences For Juveniles


The highest court in Massachusetts has struck down life sentences for juveniles

The ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court goes further than a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012 that found mandatory life sentences for juveniles violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. The Massachusetts court said it applies to discretionary sentences as well.  The ruling came in the case of a man who has been in prison for three decades for a murder he committed in Boston when he was 17. The court said he should be considered immediately for parole. Prosecutors say there are another 60 inmates who are directly affected by the court’s ruling.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.