Iowa Supreme Court bans life sentence without possibility of par - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Supreme Court bans life sentence without possibility of parole for juveniles

Posted: Updated:
Isaiah Sweet Isaiah Sweet

The Iowa Supreme Court making a change today, ruling that juveniles convicted of murder cannot serve life sentences without a chance of parole.

The court overturning state law through a 4-3 ruling saying that the punishment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment under the Iowa constitution.

Today's ruling affecting the life sentence of an eastern Iowa man --- 21-year-old Isaiah Sweet is currently serving a life sentence without parole for killing his grandparents Richard and Janet Sweet. 

Because of a thee decision, he may soon have a chance at freedom.

Sweet's defense attorney, Shellie Knipfer, spoke to us by phone and explains. "His sentence has been vacated, he will go back for a new hearing," she said.

The court says it's cruel and unusual punishment for juveniles to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sweet was just 17-years old when he committed the murders in 2012.

"So it doesn't mean that he's going to be paroled, it just means, that at some later day he will have the opportunity to prove that he has been rehabilitated," Knipfer added.

The court argues young offenders are not mentally mature and are still developing. This is something that was analyzed during Sweet's trial.

"Brain maturity doesn't happen until mid-late 20s...mid 20s. So the fact that he was 17 doesn't mean that he was almost, you know, mentally mature...even after 18," Knipfer said.

Sweet's attorney says this is all about giving young offenders the opportunity to prove they have changed for the better.

As for Sweet's case will be resentenced, that's all up to the prison and parole board.

Powered by Frankly