B21-0683, D.C. Act 21-568 (amending, in relevant part, D. C. Code §§ 24-403 et seq.).
The District of Columbia eliminated life-without-parole sentences for juveniles with legislation that took effect in 2017. The legislation provides that no person shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or release for an offense committed while under 18 years of age, and that such offenders may receive a sentence less than the minimum term otherwise required by law. Moreover, the court may reduce a term of imprisonment imposed upon a defendant for an offense committed before age 18 if, among other considerations, the defendant received a sentence of at least 20 years in prison, is found not to be a danger to the safety of any person or the community, and the interests of justice warrant a sentence modification. The court shall hold a hearing on a defendant’s motion for sentence modification under the act, and the defendant and defendant’s counsel must be given an opportunity to speak on the defendant’s behalf. In determining whether to modify the sentence, the court must consider, inter alia, “[w]hether the defendant has demonstrated maturity, rehabilitation, and a fitness to reenter society sufficient to justify a sentence reduction.”