Supreme Court examines Louisiana cop killer's life sentence

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 13, 2015 12:47 PM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday considered a Louisiana man's appeal of a sentence of life in prison without parole that he received for killing a police officer in 1963 when he was 17 years old.

The inmate, Henry Montgomery, is asking to be resentenced.

But questions asked by the justices during the oral argument in the case indicated the court may not decide the merits of Montgomery's appeal due to a legal technicality. That could mean the court may take up another case on the same issue at a later date.

The court was weighing the impact of one of its own rulings from three years ago that banned mandatory life sentences without parole for people who were under age 18 when they committed murder.

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Derek Hunter

The legal question is whether that 2012 ruling can be applied retroactively to inmates who were sentenced before the decision was issued.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)