Missouri inmates have chance at release after court ruling

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has reaffirmed that more than 80 Missouri inmates sentenced to life in prison as teenagers could have a chance at freedom.

The high court ruled Monday that its 2012 ruling banning mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile murderers applies to those previously convicted.

While the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Missouri courts have granted new sentencing hearings for some with appeals pending in 2012, the state Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled on a prior case in which appeals were exhausted.

A spokeswoman says the Missouri attorney general’s office is reviewing the ruling.

The ruling came as state lawmakers are again pushing to change Missouri law on juvenile sentencing to come into compliance with the 2012 ruling.

Sen. Bob Dixon says Missouri has no alternative sentence that’s constitutional for minors convicted of first-degree murder other than life in prison without parole.