People v. Hardin
Tony Hardin was sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for an offense committed when he was 25 years old. Under California statute, youth under 18 who were sentenced to LWOP and late adolescents 18 to 25 who were sentenced to terms of 25 years to life are both eligible for youth offender parole hearings after 25 years of incarceration, but late adolescents sentenced to LWOP are not. The California Court of Appeal held that there is no rational basis for excluding older adolescents sentenced to LWOP from the opportunity for a youth offender parole hearing.
Juvenile Law Center joined law firm Cooley LLP and 26 neuroscience, psychology, and juvenile justice scholars and nonprofits in filing an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court, urging the Court to affirm the Court of Appeal’s judgement. Our brief argued that the mitigating attributes of adolescence apply with compelling force to all late adolescents, regardless of offense or issued sentence and, accordingly, the statute’s distinction among late adolescents is irrational and unsupported by science.
Tiffany Faith, Marissa Lariviere