Juveniles Facing Lifelong Terms Despite Rulings, by Erik Eckholm of the New York Times, details how little has changed in many states for juveniles who were previously sentenced to life without parole prior to the 2012 case of Miller v. Alabama. Advocates had hoped that states would review all cases in which juvenile defendants were sentenced to life without parole pre-Miller and consider modifying the sentence. As the article details, many states have chosen either to not address the Miller ruling en masse or to not apply the Miller holding retrospectively to all defendants who were already sentenced to life without parole for an act that was committed while a juvenile.
Indiana’s current LWOP law is at IC 35-50-2-3, and remains unchanged with the implementation of HEA 1006, which will overhaul much of the criminal code. A juvenile who is convicted of murder and was sixteen or seventeen at the time of the offense may still be sentenced to life without parole, but it is not mandatory.
For more information on the issue over the past two years, see these previous posts from the Indiana Law Blog.