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Sentences for Juvenile Offenders at Issue in Upcoming Supreme Court Hearings

 Posted on March 30, 2012 in Juvenile Crimes

There are currently at least 100 Illinois inmates who were sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole for crimes they committed while under the age of 18. The issue of life sentences for juvenile offenders is a controversial one nationwide, and the United States Supreme Court will soon hear two cases involving 14-year-old offenders that hinge on the issue of whether or not it’s right for those convicted of some juvenile crimes to face life in prison without parole.

A recent Chicago Tribune article points to the case of a man named Adolfo Davis. At the age of 14, Davis accompanied fellow gang members on what he expected to be a robbery, but that ended up with two men dead. Although Davis never fired a shot, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In fact, Illinois law allows for youth as young as age 13 to receive a life sentence for murder, and those age 15 or older can be sentenced to life in prison with no parole for murders for which they only drove the getaway car or acted as a lookout.

Although the Supreme Court has already mandated that only murders committed by juveniles can result in this sentence (and has ruled out the death penalty for juvenile offenders,) advocates say that this harsh sentence isn’t fair for someone so young, and that juvenile offenders are actually among the most likely to rehabilitate if given the proper treatment.

Even less serious juvenile crimes such as theft or drug charges can have devastating consequences. If you or someone you love has been charged with a juvenile offense in Illinois, you’ll need the services of a skilled and experienced Cook County juvenile crime lawyer.

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