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Sentencing Guidelines | Juvenile Life Without Parole

Sentencing Guidelines | Juvenile Life Without Parole

The new sentencing guidelines for Pennsylvania went into effect today. I heard there is a new matrix for juvenile life without parole in regard to murder 1 and murder 2 convictions. Is this true?

It is true that the new sentencing matrix is in effect. The guidelines matrix is similar to all of the other sentencing matrices, so this isn’t such a big deal. The real triumph here is that if a juvenile is convicted of murder 1 or murder 2, they may not be in jail for the rest of their life. The person has a chance for parole.

If someone is 14 years old and is the look out man for the door at an armed robbery where an adult kills someone inside the building during the robbery, and is convicted of murder 2, that person may no longer be serving life. After 20 years, they have a shot for parole. Obviously, this is a way better system.

For your reading, below is the relevant portion of the statute 18 P.A.CS. 1102.1:

§ 1102.  Sentence for murder, murder of unborn child and murder of law enforcement officer.(a)  First degree.–(1)  Except as provided under section 1102.1 (relating to sentence of persons under the age of 18 for murder, murder of an unborn child and murder of a law enforcement officer), a person who has been convicted of a murder of the first degree or of murder of a law enforcement officer of the first degree shall be sentenced to death or to a term of life imprisonment in accordance with 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711 (relating to sentencing procedure for murder of the first degree).
(2)  The sentence for a person who has been convicted of first degree murder of an unborn child shall be the same as the sentence for murder of the first degree, except that the death penalty shall not be imposed. This paragraph shall not affect the determination of an aggravating circumstance under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711(d)(17) for the killing of a pregnant woman.
(b)  Second degree.–Except as provided under section 1102.1, a person who has been convicted of murder of the second degree, of second degree murder of an unborn child or of second degree murder of a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.
(c)  Attempt, solicitation and conspiracy.–Notwithstanding section 1103(1) (relating to sentence of imprisonment for felony), a person who has been convicted of attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit murder, murder of an unborn child or murder of a law enforcement officer where serious bodily injury results may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which shall be fixed by the court at not more than 40 years. Where serious bodily injury does not result, the person may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which shall be fixed by the court at not more than 20 years.
(d)  Third degree.–Notwithstanding section 1103, a person who has been convicted of murder of the third degree or of third degree murder of an unborn child shall be sentenced to a term which shall be fixed by the court at not more than 40 years.

Juvenile Life Without Parole
Juvenile Life Without Parole

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