Ruling: Life term ban not retroactive
HARRISBURG (AP) — A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that juveniles convicted of murder who were automatically sentenced to life without parole before that penalty was barred by the nation’s highest court will not be resentenced if their cases were final before the ruling.
The 4-3 ruling by Pennsylvania’s highest court Wednesday means that about 460 commonwealth inmates may never get parole.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 that automatic life sentences without parole for juveniles violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
But the court didn’t say whether the decision applied to defendants who had already exhausted all of their appeals.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided it didn’t apply in the case of a Philadelphia man convicted of murder in a robbery when he was 17.