Supreme Court said juvenile lifers could be resentenced. In Missouri, only 7 released

Katie Moore , The Kansas City Star •
detention center hallway

Daryll McNair admits he was involved in a December 1991 gun fight at a Kansas City house that killed two men. He was 17 years old at the time and sentenced to life without parole.

“Everybody lost that night,” said McNair, now 46.

He spent more than two decades in prison believing that’s where he would die. Then in January 2016, the United States Supreme Court said that sentencing youth to mandatory life was cruel and unusual punishment, and violated the constitution. The Montgomery v. Louisiana decision gave about 2,000 prisoners the opportunity to be re-sentenced or even released.

“It’s had a very significant impact,” said Marsha Levick, chief legal officer at the Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit.

But not in Missouri. The state has more than 100 juvenile lifers, but only seven have been released, according to a check through the Missouri Department of Corrections’ website.

“The number should be higher,” Levick said.

Read this story on The Kansas City Star website.

About the Expert

Marsha Levick co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law.