A District Court for the Western District of Missouri denied a motion to dismiss a case asserting that Missouri’s parole practices violate the rights of juvenile offenders under the state and federal constitutions, reasoning that the plaintiffs’ allegations, if proven, could permit a finding that the state’s parole practices failed to provide the requisite meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.
A federal district court in Louisiana held that Louisiana’s former “two-step parole procedure” failed to provide a meaningful opportunity for release and, thus, that habeas relief was warranted for a defendant serving a mandatory life sentence under this system.
The Florida Supreme Court held that the application of gain time alone is insufficient to provide a defendant with a meaningful opportunity for early release within his or her natural lifetime.
Diatchenko & Roberio v. Dist. Attorney for Suffolk Dist., 471 Mass. 12 (2015): The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that juveniles serving life sentences are entitled to representation by counsel at their initial parole hearings, access to funding for experts, and limited judicial review of parole board decisions.
North Carolina Supreme Court held that juvenile defendant who received mandatory LWOP sentence was entitled to resentencing under Miller notwithstanding statutory entitlement to discretionary sentence review, because review process did not provide sufficiently meaningful opportunity to reduce severity of sentence.
New York appellate court held that parole boards have a constitutional obligation to consider youth and its attendant characteristics, in relationship to the crime, when making parole release decisions for juveniles sentenced to life in prison in order to guarantee a meaningful opportunity for release.
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland denied in part motion to dismiss action challenging constitutionality of Maryland’s parole system as applied to juvenile homicide offenders, finding that plaintiffs had “sufficiently alleged that Maryland’s parole system operates as a system of executive clemency, in which opportunities for release are ‘remote,’ rather than a true parole scheme in which opportunities for release are ‘meaningful’ and ‘realistic’ as required.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina determined that a sentence of life with parole imposed on a juvenile nonhomicide offender violated the Eighth Amendment because North Carolina’s parole process does not provide a meaningful opportunity for release.
Juvenile non-homicide offender serving life with parole after 25 years alleged that Iowa’s parole system denied him a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation; defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint denied.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ordered state to create an administrative structure for the purpose of processing and determining the appropriateness of parole for juvenile offenders serving life-without-parole sentences and set forth certain required procedures.