BOSTO, Mass (WWLP) – Massachusetts prosecutors want the state legislature to adjust sentencing guidelines to make sure juveniles who commit murders in Massachusetts spend at least 35 years behind bars.
Under Massachusetts law, adults convicted of first degree murder in Mass. must serve a mandatory sentence of life-in-prison with no chance for parole.
Late last month, the state’s highest court followed the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without parole.
The Supreme Judicial Court is now relying on State Parole Board guidelines for second degree murder, allowing for parole eligibility after serving 15 years. The SJC advised that the punishment for second degree murder should be the basis for dealing with juveniles convicted of first degree murder.
Prosecutors want to raise the minimum for first degree murder to 35 years before parole eligibility.
According to the State House News Service, Massachusetts District Attorneys Association President Jonathan Blodgett wrote a letter to legislators Friday saying, in part, ” this decision is particularly burdensome to the families of the victims of juvenile murderers, as they are now subjected to the possibility that their loved-ones killers will be released.”
The Senate President and the House Speaker have pledged to consider the subject of mandatory minimum sentencing early in the next session.