Missouri Changes Law Over Juvenile Lifers; Legal Fight Looms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri changed its law to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that deems mandatory life without parole for teens unconstitutional. But a legal fight still looms over whether affected Missouri lifers are getting a fair shot at release.

Under a year-old Missouri law, inmates who got life without parole for killings committed when they were younger than 18 can ask for a parole hearing after serving 25 years. But since last fall, 20 of 23 juvenile lifers who have sought release have been denied.

That’s according to the MacArthur Justice Center, which filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Missouri Department of Corrections and the parole board of running a system that denies juvenile lifers an adequate chance for freedom. That case goes to trial in November 2018.

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