Supreme Court ruling has states reviewing future of ‘young’ prisoners

Missouri has 84 prison inmates whose mandatory life-without-parole sentences for first-degree murder convictions may have to be changed, after last Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

In its 5-4 decision, the high court said life without parole sentences for juveniles violates the Constitution’s ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

More than 2,000 people are in U.S. prisons under such a sentence, according to facts agreed on by attorneys for both sides of the case.

That includes those 84 Missouri inmates who were 17 or younger when they committed their crimes, even though they were certified to stand trial as adults.

Nanci Gonder, Attorney General Chris Koster’s spokeswoman, said last week their staff was reviewing ....

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Four of the state’s 84 juveniles automatically sentenced to life without parole are from Mid-Missouri:

• CHRISTOPHER J. CREED

• WILLIAM L. BRANCH

• JESSIE CARTER

• JESS W. RUSH

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