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Justices hear arguments over life sentences for teenagers

6 years 7 months 4 days ago Tuesday, October 13 2015 Oct 13, 2015 October 13, 2015 11:17 AM October 13, 2015 in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Mark Sherman
Image: Tim Sackton / CC BY-SA 2.0

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has heard arguments about whether hundreds of inmates imprisoned for life for murders they committed as teenagers should have a chance to seek their freedom.

The justices on Tuesday used the case of Henry Montgomery to consider extending to older cases a three-year-old ruling that struck down automatic life sentences with no chance of release. Montgomery has been in prison 52 years for killing a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sheriff's deputy as a teen in 1963.

It was unclear from the 75-minute argument whether there are enough votes to make the 2012 ruling in Miller v. Alabama retroactive to Montgomery and other prisoners. Several justices also suggested they might dismiss the case on technical grounds without deciding about the reach of the Alabama decision.

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