The first of New Hampshire’s inmates given life sentences without parole as juveniles has been granted a chance at release.
In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to impose mandatory life sentences without parole on juveniles…given that they tend to be more impulsive and reckless.
On Tuesday, Judge Larry Smukler ruled in favor of that Supreme Court decision. Eduardo Lopez Junior, who was locked up at 17, will now have a chance for parole at age 62.
Lopez is now 43. He’s serving time for murdering a Nashua resident during a robbery spree in 1991.
In Smukler’s court order, he stated that since many people work well into their seventies, this sentence provides Lopez a “meaningful life” after release.
In a two-day sentencing hearing in December, the prosecution was asking for Lopez to serve another 25 years, when he'd be 68. Attorney Jeff Strelzin told the judge that Lopez committed these crimes with intent and that the victims' families deserve more justice.
The defense; however, argued he has served enough time, stressing that he's a changed man.
Lopez’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.