Some defense lawyers have urged caution in responding to the court rulings.
“Judges need to have some discretion on where to set parole eligibility based on the individual young person, their background and the circumstances of the offenses,” said Joshua Dohan, director of the Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the state’s public defender agency.
“I understand where it’s coming from. Everybody feels for the families that have had to go through this and there’s nothing you can do to make that better for them. But when it comes to then how do you deal with the youthful offender, the answer is no, this is not fair,” Dohan said. “It needs to be after a reasonable term. Thirty-five years is not reasonable.”
Staff writer Tom Dalton contributed to this story.