Juvenile Lifers Await Chance for Parole After U.S. Ruling

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It’s been six months since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some 2,500 “juvenile lifers” could seek a chance at parole for their childhood crimes.

But advocates say that only a few aging inmates across the county have walked out of prison.

Public defenders fear that parole boards won’t release them even though Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that only the “rarest of children” are so “incorrigible” they should never go free.

One judge in rural Tioga County, Pennsylvania, this month has seen fit to release 61-year-old Jackie Lee Thompson after 46 years in prison for killing a girlfriend.

Thompson says he’s not the same person he was in 1969. Even the victim’s father supports his release.

But other victims’ families say the re-sentencing hearings will be grueling.

The states with the most juvenile offenders serving life without parole include Pennsylvania, Michigan, Louisiana, California and Florida.