In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its 2012 decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles must be applied retroactively, granting new chances at release for hundreds of inmates serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed in their youth. The opinion indicated that life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders should be exceedingly rare and gave states two options: resentencing the affected prisoners or making them eligible for parole. At the time of the decision, there were more than 2,500 people (concentrated in California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) serving sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed when they were not yet 18. Many of them automatically received those sentences, without individualized consideration of their youth and other factors. How can pro bono lawyers get involved and be of assistance?
Join us on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:00 PM EST for our upcoming webinar on the subject, produced in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, Pro Bono in Practice: Juvenile Life without Parole.
You’ll hear from experts:
- Heather Renwick, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
- Whitney Untiedt, Akerman†
CLE credit is available in many jurisdictions. The program is available for free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Law Firms as a member benefit. Please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for assistance accessing the program.
For additional background and first-hand experiences representing juvenile lifers, check out our interviews with Whitney Untiedt, Valentine Brown, and Hayes Hunt on the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast. Among other things, they discuss their meaningful work to ensure access to justice for “juvenile lifers.” You can subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in Apple Podcasts and links to all of the episodes can be found here.
* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member