Juvenile lifers in Pa. lose appeal to high court

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal over whether juveniles imprisoned for life before a 2012 law change can seek new sentences.Hundreds of inmates in Pennsylvania are serving mandatory life sentences for murders committed when they were minors.

A 2012 Supreme Court decision gives judges discretion over whether to sentence juveniles to life terms.But the high court did not say if the law should be applied retroactively. And states have since split on the question.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the idea in a 4-3 vote.

Now the U.S. court has declined Monday to hear an appeal from the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center.

Staff lawyer Emily Keller says the issue remains unresolved as other cases move through the courts, including one in federal court in Pennsylvania.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.