Law Office of John W. Noonan
925-400-6635 Call For A Free Initial Consultation Se Habla Español Available 24/7

Parole for California inmate is step forward for juvenile justice

In the last 10 years, there have been significant changes in the laws surrounding juvenile offenders and how they can be sentenced. A California inmate's release last week is among the first signs that these laws are being utilized.

Last week, a 39-year-old man was released from prison on parole. When he was 16 years old, he was involved in the shooting death of a woman, but he was not the shooter. Still, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Unfortunately, this man's story is not unique. Approximately 310 people are serving life sentences in California prisons for crimes they committed as juveniles. Until now, none of them had the possibility of parole. Fortunately, lawmakers and courts across the country came to see this as a problem.

In the last 10 years, the U.S. Supreme Court changed the law twice in favor of inmates sentenced as juveniles. The two rulings have reshaped the way the courts review juvenile cases and sentence juvenile offenders. They have also opened up the possibility of parole for those who did not have that option based on their original sentence. The two significant rulings are:

  • In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty could no longer be an option for juveniles -- children under the age of 18 -- convicted of a crime.
  • In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that a child's level of maturity and capacity for change must be taken into account when determining a sentence.

Under California's new review system, people who were sentenced to life in prison as juveniles can seek parole through a three-step process: a resentencing hearing, a parole hearing and a review by the governor. Now, people like the man who was released last week have hope of a life outside prison walls. 

What the courts and lawmakers have come to recognize is that children younger than 18 are not fully developed. Their brains are still forming and their perception of reality -- including risks and their consequences -- is much different from that of adults. This means we cannot reliably say that their actions as children will predict their actions as adults. In terms of the criminal justice system, reform is possible.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "California inmate's parole reflects rethinking of life terms for youths," Marisa Gerber, March 24, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Recent Case Results

  • Drunk Driving Offenses

    John was able to get client a reduction of charge of a DUI because of being a nurse it could mean her license.

    He secured a Drunk in Public , and she would attend a 3 month program. Additionally, the dmv hearing was also set aside.

    Both being a win for the client.

    Read More
  • Domestic Violence

    A client was arrested for a Felony Domestic Violence, could have devastated her potential for future employment. John was able to get the case dismissed. Client was thrilled.

    Read More
  • Juvenile Charges

    A juvenile was arrested for 2nd Degree Robbery. After 6 months the case was dismissed.

    A juvenile was arrested for Sexual Battery. After 6 months and 80 hours of Community service, the case was dismissed.

    Read More
  • Drunk Driving Offenses

    A client with a 1st DUI arrest. Fearing she would go to jail; lose her license for a year and lose her job. Got a wet reckless and minimal fines.

    Read More
  • Drug Charges

    A client with 4 Felony charges on a Transportation Charge, a Attempt to Sell, Possession of Marijuana, (50 pounds), Conspiracy Charge all where reduced to 1 Misdemeanor. No Jail.

    Client was charged with 6 Felony drug possessions. Facing jail time. The results: Client got a deferred entry of judgment and then dismissed.

    Client charged with several felony counts of possession of Marijuana with intent to sell. Client was involved in a medical marijuana grow. Case was reduced and later dismissed.

    Read More
  • Sex Crimes

    A client with alleged 2 Felony Sex charges and he faced jail and sex registration. The case was entirely dismissed.

    Client charged with prostitution; facing jail time and sex offender registration. Result: NO JAIL TIME AND NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION Deferred Entry of Judgment.

    Read More
  • Domestic Violence

    Client charged with domestic violence, with great bodily injury. Case reduced to a misdemeanor with time served.

    Read More
Email Us For A Response

Learn How We Can Help

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Areas We Serve

Dublin Office
6379 Clark Avenue
Suite 250
Dublin, CA 94568

Toll Free: 800-785-9556
Phone: 925-400-6635
Fax: 925-479-0015
Dublin Law Office Map

Manteca Office
210 East Center Street
Suite 10
Manteca, CA 95336

Toll Free: 800-785-9556
Phone: 209-498-3521
Fax: 925-479-0015
Manteca Law Office Map

Back To Top