Nov 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Parole granted to Louisiana inmate who was key to juvenile sentence reform

Photo of the entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which has a brick sign and flowers

The entrance of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola, where Henry Montgomery served time. Photo: Giles Clarke vja Getty Images

The Louisiana inmate whose case helped extend the opportunity for parole to hundreds of prisoners was released on parole on Wednesday, AP reports.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory sentencing of life without parole for convicted juveniles was "cruel and unusual punishment," but it was Henry Montgomery's case that led the judges to extend their decision retroactively to people already in prison.

Details: Montgomery was convicted of killing East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy Charles Hurt, who caught him skipping school, in 1963. He was 17 at the time.

  • Initially sentenced to death, he was given life in prison after the Supreme Court said he didn't get a fair trial and the case was retried.
  • He was resentenced to life with parole following the Supreme Court decision in his case.
  • "For individuals who continue to be in prison, Henry gives them hope that they may be judged by who they are today and not the worst mistake they ever made," Andrew Hundley, a former juvenile who was sentenced to life in prison but released because of Montgomery's case, told AP.
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