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Pa. high court revisits juvenile life sentences

•  Legal Spotlight     updated  2012/09/12 12:01

Pennsylvania's highest court is weighing how to resentence prisoners who were given automatic life sentences as juveniles.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlaws mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.

There are nearly 500 juvenile lifers in Pennsylvania, half from Philadelphia.

The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday morning in a pair of representative cases.

The defendants are Ian Cunningham, serving life for a second-degree murder conviction in Philadelphia, and Qu'Eed Batts, convicted of first-degree murder in Northampton County.

Cunningham's case concerns lifers who have exhausted direct appeals but want to invoke the Supreme Court decision in new filings.

In the Batts case, lawyers will debate what term is appropriate for those sentenced to life without parole.

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