Court to Weigh Virginia Policy on Life Terms for Teens

An appeals court is set to hear a challenge to Virginia's law regarding life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of capital murder. 

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down mandatory life terms with no chance of parole for teenage killers in 2012. The court ruled this year that even those convicted long ago must be considered for parole or given a new sentence. 

A man serving a life term for a murder he committed when he was 16 says Virginia law violates that ruling by effectively mandating life-without-parole sentences for some juveniles. Jason Clem is seeking a new sentence. 

Virginia officials argue Clem's life term wasn't mandatory because the judge could've suspended all or part of the sentence. 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will examine the case Tuesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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