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ACLU files suit challenging Wisconsin’s refusal to release parole-eligible people who received life sentences as juveniles

Today the ACLU filed a 59-page class action complaint against Wisconsin parole commissioners in federal.  It’s a “must read” for attorneys who defend juveniles. Among other things, it cites to a great deal of legal and scientific research on juvenile versus adult offenders. It also alleges that COMPAS assessments appear to treat youth as an “aggravating factor” and only a “miniscule number” of parole-eligible juvenile lifers have been paroled during the past 15 years. Most die in prison. The ACLU claims that the Parole Commission’s failure to provide a meaningful opportunity for release based on maturity and rehabilitation violates the 8th and 14th Amendments, and the Commission’s use of facts not found by the jury to essentially enhance sentences for juvenile lifers violates the 6th Amendment. It asks the court to enjoin the Commission’s constitutional violations and give class members a meaningful opportunity to obtain parole.

 

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