Ruling affects Pennsylvania lifers sentenced as juveniles

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling requires that hundreds of Pennsylvania murderers who as teenagers were sentenced to life without parole must be considered for parole or given a new sentence.

In a split decision announced Monday, the majority of the justices extended a 2012 decision that struck down automatic life terms with no chance of parole for teenage killers.

Pennsylvania was one of seven states that refused to apply the decision retroactively to people convicted of murders committed long ago. The latest ruling made clear that it applies to those people.

Pennsylvania Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm says the order affects 479 convicts serving life without parole.

Marsha Levick, chief counsel of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, says they range in age from their early 20s to their late 70s.

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