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Recent rulings in the US Supreme Court have reviewed the constitutionality of sentencing juveniles to life sentences without the possibility of parole. They have determined that this practice is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and it violates the eighth amendment of the Constitution. This ruling makes it clear that children should be treated differently than adults, even for heinous crimes.
States will now be compelled to change their sentencing laws to match this new statute. Illinois has already proposed legislation to meet this requirement. House Bill 1348 and Senate Bill 1858 will let state judges to review aspects of each case before sentencing a juvenile to prison. Factors that will be reviewed include age, role in the crime, maturity and others.
The new laws will also work retroactively given a provision in the legislation. Juveniles who have been sentenced to life without parole will have their cases periodically and objectively reviewed. It also allows for the advocacy of family and input from victims of the crime. While this new legislation will benefit those who are trying to make a change in their lives, it will not for those who make no effort.
With children, there is a chance for change, hope and growth. Reacting to crimes harshly without reason would cause more lives to be ruined. This kind of thinking goes hand and hand with the practice of expungement. While people can repent and move on from their discretions, records can stick around for a long time. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Will County with a background in expungement.
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