Wyoming holds Miller retroactive

The Wyoming Supreme Court has issued a two-fold victory in Wyoming v. Mares for individuals sentenced as children to life in prison.

The Wyoming Supreme Court held that Miller v. Alabama should apply retroactively.  Additionally, the Court affirmed that a Wyoming law enacted last year that provides that any child sentenced to life imprisonment is eligible for parole after having served 25 years should also apply retroactively.

Mr. Mares was sixteen years old at the time of his arrest and has served nearly twenty years in prison.  Under the Wyoming Supreme Court’s decision yesterday, Mr. Mares will be eligible for parole after twenty-five years and is entitled to a new sentencing hearing under Miller.

Wyoming is the eighth state to hold that Miller must be applied retroactively.  State supreme courts in Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois, Nebraska, and New Hampshire have applied Miller retroactively.  Now twice as many state supreme courts have ruled in favor of the retroactive application of Miller as have ruled against it.