Pennsylvania

Pa. high court revisits juvenile life sentences

Pa. high court looks at sentence of convicted Easton killer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania's highest court is weighing how to resentence prisoners who were given automatic life sentences as juveniles.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlaws mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.

There are nearly 500 juvenile lifers in Pennsylvania, half from Philadelphia.

The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a pair of representative cases.

The defendants are Ian Cunningham, serving life for a second degree murder conviction in Philadelphia, and Qu'Eed Batts, convicted of first degree murder in Northampton County.

Cunningham's case concerns lifers who have exhausted direct appeals but want to invoke the Supreme Court decision in new filings.

In the Batts case, lawyers will debate what term is appropriate for those sentenced to life without parole.

Batts was 14-years-old when police said he killed 16-year-old C.J. Edwards in Easton in 2006.


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