A U.S. Supreme Court decision could put Nebraska murder sentences in jeopardy. The U.S. Supreme Court decided it's not constitutional to automatically sentence anyone under 18 to life in prison for murder. The court's majority argued kids cannot automatically be punished the same way as adults who commit crimes.
The Nebraska DCS says there are 17 inmates under the age of 18 when they were admitted to DCS. That doesn’t include juveniles who committed a murder, and were sentenced to prison time after their 18th birthday. Retired defense attorney Steve Lefler says the ruling is an indication of how society has changed over the years.
"While there's still some room for what this interpretation means, clearly the judge has to at least have the option of doing something other than mandatory life in prison," Lefler explained.
Lefler believes the state of Nebraska will apply the new ruling to previously sentenced juveniles.
Patti Glinsmann still keeps her little sister close to her heart and in her memory. Her sister, 27-year-old Tari Glinsmann was murdered in November 2008 outside of the convenience store she worked.
Two juveniles, Juan Castaneda and Eric Ramriez, were convicted and sentenced to life in prison for Tari's murder and for the murder of Luis Fernando-Silva, and for shooting another man.
"They did a crime as an adult and they should do the time as an adult,” Glinsmann described. "These kids were 15, 16, 17, up to 18 they knew the difference between right and wrong. They know it's not right to kill."
The former trial council for Eric Ramirez said this decision should have a direct impact on the original sentencing.