Oral arguments before the Supreme Court today weighed the issue of where to draw the line on how young is too young for juvenile offenders to be eligible for a sentence of life without parole, with the case of Arkansas’s Kuntrell Jackson front and center.
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Jackson was just 14 years old in 1999 when he was involved in the robbery of a Blytheville video store in which clerk Laurie Troup was killed with a sawed-off shotgun. Jackson later told police that he was “the lookout” for the robbery, but was convicted as an accomplice and sentenced to life without parole. The 15-year-old who admitted to being the shooter eventually plead guilty and was given a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.
Currently, only 79 inmates in the U.S. are sentenced to life without parole for a crime committed when they were 14 or younger.