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Iowa Supreme Court Ruling Will Reduce Sentences For Dozens Convicted as Juveniles

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Iowa Judicial Branch Building, which houses the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. (WHO-HD)

Iowa Judicial Branch Building, which houses the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES,  Iowa  —  Around 150 Iowa inmates who were convicted as juveniles could be getting out of prison sooner and some may be released immediately.

Friday the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the inmates who were previously given mandatory minimum sentences as juveniles must now have their earned-time credit readjusted.

Under Iowa law inmates who are given mandatory minimum sentences accrue earned time credits at a slower rate than inmates sentenced otherwise.  However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that giving a mandatory minimum sentence to a juvenile is cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.

Hundreds of Iowa offenders were re-sentenced after that ruling and given non-mandatory sentences.  The Iowa Supreme Court ruled today that because they are no longer being held under mandatory sentence rules their earned-time credit should be recalculated to non-mandatory sentence levels.

The court estimates around 150 Iowa inmates will be affected.  For some the new earned-time credit rate will make them eligible for immediate release.

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