After Decades in Prison, Should Adults Convicted as Teens Get a Second Chance? A Growing Number of State Laws Say Yes
Second in a three-part series on a teenager with a tumultuous childhood who was sent to die in prison, and where his life would lead. The following narrative was compiled from interviews and court records.
Sylvia A. Harvey Feb 06, 2023
Justices in the state’s highest court are weighing whether it is unconstitutional to sentence people convicted of murder and aged 18 to 20 to life without parole.
Ella Fassler Jun 30, 2021
After more than a year in office—and despite pushback—the San Francisco DA’s policies have kept people out of jails and prisons.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 18, 2021
Former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson’s fiery dissents on mass incarceration and sentencing in America’s most carceral state garnered international attention. But the rise of the first Black woman on the court was characterized by one battle after another with the Deep South’s white power structure.
Elon Green Mar 02, 2021
The D.C. Council is set to vote on a bill aimed at giving people who committed serious crimes before their 25th birthday an opportunity to petition a judge for resentencing.
Meg O'Connor Dec 14, 2020
Nelson’s attorneys had sought to have his death sentence reversed, citing critical errors by his original trial attorneys.
Lauren Gill Aug 28, 2020
Studies show that 95 percent of the nation’s prosecutors are white and that the lack of Black and brown representation in courts negatively affect outcomes for people of color.
Dawn R. Wolfe Jul 24, 2020
Minors Sentenced To Life Without Parole Deserve More Than Scare Tactics When Transitioning To Adult Prisons
If the justice system’s goal is to produce healthy, safe, and productive members of society, then it must begin with support from corrections staff and healthy relationships with peers.
Anthony Richardson Jul 22, 2020
State law requires all murder charges be automatically filed in adult court, regardless of age.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 20, 2020
Spotlights like this one provide original commentary and analysis on pressing criminal justice issues of the day. You can read them each day in our newsletter, The Daily Appeal. These days, I spend a lot of energy thinking about how to keep my child and my parents safe from the coronavirus. But if my child, or […]
Sarah Lustbader Mar 12, 2020
The Appeal and Oregon Justice Resource Center announce “Left Behind,” firsthand accounts of growing-up in prison from individuals sentenced as children.
Bobbin Singh Mar 03, 2020
A survey of roughly 1,000 people found that 1 in 5 had been turned down for a diversion program because they couldn’t afford the costs of drug tests and monitoring devices.
Lauren Gill Feb 28, 2020
A new survey shows support across political lines for second-look legislation and sentence review by prosecutors
Vaidya Gullapalli Feb 24, 2020
A New York Law Could Reduce Sentences for Domestic Violence Survivors. Why Are Judges Reluctant to Apply It?
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act allows judges to consider shorter sentences, as well as non-prison sentences, if abuse factored significantly in the crime.
Victoria Law Feb 24, 2020
A Department of Corrections official knew the extrajudicial practice was going on but little has been done to correct it.
Victoria Law Feb 18, 2020
Spotlights like this one provide original commentary and analysis on pressing criminal justice issues of the day. You can read them each day in our newsletter, The Daily Appeal. “Under pressure from law enforcement, state lawmakers say they are now willing to make significant changes to the bail reform laws that have been in effect for less than […]
Sarah Lustbader Feb 13, 2020
An Appeal documentary on life without the possibility of parole—and its impact on loved ones—in the state.
Joshua Vaughn Feb 13, 2020
A review of charging dockets in Lebanon County shows Ashley Menser was the only person charged with felony retail theft in 2018 to receive a 7-year maximum sentence.
Joshua Vaughn Feb 10, 2020
Three Supreme Court justices and others said competent counsel could have saved his life.
Kyle C. Barry Jan 30, 2020
The state Supreme Court erred this month when it failed to invalidate Willie Nash’s sentence as cruel and unusual punishment, his attorneys argue.
Aaron Morrison Jan 23, 2020
Arizona’s Incarcerated Firefighters Push for Legislation That Recognizes Their Labor By Reducing Their Sentences
Unlike other states, Arizona offers minimal early release credits for the prisoners it sends to fight its wildfires.
Hannah Critchfield Jan 21, 2020
It’s the first time since 2014 that someone on Georgia’s death row has been granted clemency.
Braden Goyette Jan 16, 2020
The state said Michelle Heale shook the baby to death, but some experts say her conviction was based on debunked science.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jan 15, 2020
Many liberals support reform in theory. But when unpopular decisions need to be made, it’s back to the 1990s “Tough on Crime” playbook.
Adam H. Johnson Jan 09, 2020
One man, Paul Houser, is serving 60 years on a drug conviction for purchasing cold medicine and batteries. He’s one of 2,600 people incarcerated as a result of the state’s three strikes laws.
Lauren Gill Dec 20, 2019
Sensational headlines may score short-term partisan points, but long term they contribute to a toxic culture of Willie Hortonism.
Adam H. Johnson Dec 20, 2019
The Supreme Court Ruled That Sentences Like Hers Are Unconstitutional. Prosecutors Are Fighting To Keep Her Incarcerated.
Prosecutor Jessica Cooper of Oakland County, Michigan, has aggressively pursued life without the possibility of parole for children, critics say. She recommended the sentence for Barbara Hernández, who at 16 was a ‘slave’ to an abusive boyfriend who drew her into a plan that ended in murder.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Dec 09, 2019
Racial disparities in incarceration rates are dropping but still remain high. Racial disparities in sentence lengths are growing.
Vaidya Gullapalli Dec 04, 2019
In California, a prison program run by people once sentenced to life shows how even the most serious offenders are more than the worst things they’ve done.
In Missouri, Public Defenders Push to Put Poor Defendants on Wait List in Attempt to Improve Their Legal Representation
Critics say the list, which would apply to defendants in St. Louis County, Missouri, would infringe on people’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Lauren Gill Nov 26, 2019
In a letter to the sentencing judge, the Minnesota representative called for compassion toward the man who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill her.
Vaidya Gullapalli Nov 20, 2019
Spotlights like this one provide original commentary and analysis on pressing criminal justice issues of the day. You can read them each day in our newsletter, The Daily Appeal. “Most lawyers, as well as ordinary citizens unfamiliar with the daily procedures of criminal law administration, are astonished to learn that a person in this society may […]
Sarah Lustbader Nov 12, 2019
North Carolina Judge Rules That Prosecuting 16-year-old As An Adult Violates His Constitutional Rights
Two years ago, the state passed ‘raise the age’ legislation that goes into effect in December. A judge’s decision regarding a teen charged in 2015 raises the possibility of relief for other young people charged since the law’s passage.
Roxanna Asgarian Oct 22, 2019
The state’s narrow interpretation gives too much weight to voices that support a punitive criminal legal system, advocates say.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 04, 2019
His legal team had pushed for clemency, arguing that Bucklew’s previous attorneys mishandled his capital murder case.
Lauren Gill Oct 02, 2019
This month, nine people received commutations from life sentences, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is calling for changes to the commutations process to give more people second chances.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 27, 2019
Rodney Reed, set to be executed on Nov. 20, is innocent of a rape and murder, his lawyers say, and untested evidence will prove it. But prosecutors have pushed back, arguing the evidence is contaminated.
Lauren Gill Sep 26, 2019
Derek Harris awaits arguments in the state Supreme Court about the sentencing, which one judge called ‘unconscionable.’
Aaron Morrison Sep 24, 2019
Informants are highly motivated to lie. But jurors don’t always have the information or skills to discern the truth.
Alexandra Natapoff Sep 23, 2019