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Tell Us: Should Kids Have Life Sentences?

A Supreme Court ruling on juvenile offenders could affect a 2006 Easton murder case.

In 2006, a boy who wasn't even old enough to drive shot and killed another teenager in Easton as part of a gang initiation.

And for that crime, 14-year-old Qu'eed Batts was sentenced -- as required by state law -- to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such state laws are unconstitutional. The 5-4 ruling doesn't eliminate life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, but it does bar states from making them automatic. 

And although the court's ruling was based on murder cases from Alabama and Arkansas, it could also affect Batts' sentence, according to The Morning Call, which says the case was already under appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Batts' attorneys had made the argument that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment provision against cruel and unusual punishment. 

Batts -- who was then a freshman at Phillipsburg High School -- shot and killed 16-year-old Clarence Edwards in on the 700 block of Spring Garden Street in February 2006. Another teenager, Cory Hilario, was wounded.

What do you think? Do you agree with the Supreme Court's ruling? Take our poll, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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