February 17, 2020

Malvo Case Is Chance to Establish Life Without Parole Sentencing Standards Across States

By Kelsey Callahan

Published on February 17 in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Rainey Center Innovation and Technology Fellow, Meghan Bishop tackles the Supreme Court’s recent examination of Mathena v. Malvo, and its implications for juveniles in the criminal justice system, specifically how age plays a factor in Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentencing.

Lee Boyd Malvo, was convicted on charges of crimes related to his role as an accomplice in the 2002 DC sniper shootings. At the end of 2018, approximately 1,000 youth facing LWOP were awaiting resentencing. A favorable ruling in Malvo will reiterate to all states that juveniles sentenced to LWOP must be resentenced in a constitutionally correct manner.

While the Supreme Court Justices may send the case back to lower courts, a narrow decision would force the lower courts to decide if the judge properly considered Malvo’s age during sentencing. 

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