The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments as to whether sentencing a 14-year-old to spend the rest of his or her life in prison, even for murder, violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In California, meanwhile, the Legislature is expected to vote in the coming weeks on a bill by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) that would allow reviews of life sentences for all inmates who committed their crimes when they were teenagers. Yee, a child psychologist, calls his bill "an incredibly modest proposal." Defendants would only be eligible for review after serving 15 years and would at best win the possibility of parole after serving a total of 25.
Retired California Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman...says new research supports the need to re-examine laws that allow life sentences for juveniles.