Dying Inside: Teenage Murderer James Morgan Wasn’t Executed, But Is His Life Worth Living?

In 1987, when I first interviewed James Morgan, he was on death row in Florida, sentenced to die in the electric chair for murdering a widow in a small town north of Palm Beach. He killed her when he was 16 years old. Prosecutors argue that teens can never change. How anyone could predict the future that way was a mystery to the American Psychological Association, the American Bar Association, and others. For years I wondered how the death row teens had grown up. If Morgan could transform himself even in a small way, it could prove prosecutors wrong, I imagined. But I knew I couldn’t gauge his progress unless I could meet him decades in the future.

Plea Deal Frees Prisoner but Prolongs Battle Over JLWOP Retroactivity

George Toca, sentenced as a teen to life without parole in 1985  has been released from a Louisiana prison after Orleans Parish prosecutors allowed him to enter an Alford plea, leading to the vacation of his previous sentence. Toca’s case has been at the center of the ongoing legal battle to determine the retroactivity of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Miller vs. Alabama. According to SCOTUS Blog Toca’s case had been scheduled to be heard by the court this year and would have addressed retroactivity at least in Toca’s case. “Over the past year, the Court has several times turned down the same plea that it agreed to hear in Toca’s case.

Sparing Children from Life in Prison without Parole

Jason Baldwin hopes to spare others from growing up, growing old – and dying – in prison. Baldwin, who was sentenced to life without parole at 16 for a crime he did not commit, served 18 years and since his release in 2011 has become a crusader against sentencing youths to life without parole. Baldwin brought his message to the nation’s capital Wednesday night at an annual reception and fundraiser of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, a national organization that seeks to abolish life-without-parole sentences for all youth.