Iowa High Court Ruling Clears Way For Juvenile Sentence Appeals

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

The Iowa Supreme Court has opened the door for more than three dozen juveniles sentenced to long prison terms to appeal their sentences.

The court said Friday the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that threw out life sentences for juveniles may be applied retroactively to Iowa cases. The federal high court said juvenile sentences must be considered individually.

After the federal court's ruling, Gov. Terry Branstad converted the life sentences of 38 Iowa juvenile killers to 60 years. Many are appealing, saying that still equates to life in prison.

The Iowa court in one case refuses to challenge Branstad's commutation, but affirmed that 60 years is too long and upheld a judge's re-sentence of 25 years. In two other juvenile cases, the justices overturned lengthy sentences and ordered re-sentencing.

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