Victims' Families Want Tougher Sentencing For Juvenile Offenders

January 29, 2014

The judicial system is designed to disregard emotion. Only the letter of the law matters. But a ruling handed down last week by the state Supreme Judicial Court stirred up a lot of emotion. Following the lead of the US Supreme Court, the SJC ruled mandatory life sentences for juvenile murderers are unconstitutional. The decision set the minimum time served at 15 years, and now the families of some murder victims are making an impassioned plea to keep those killers locked up longer.  


  • Sean Aylward is the brother of Beth Brodie, who was murdered at 15 by a 16-year-old who is serving life.

The legislation Sean and his family are calling for has bi-partisan support. And it does more than increase the minimum sentence for convicted juvenile murderers form 15 to 35 years. It would also require the state Parole Board to take into account the mental capacity of offenders at the time the crime was committed when deciding whether to grant release.


  • Republican State Senator Bruce Tarr is a co-sponsor of the bill.
  • Jack Cunha is a criminal defense attorney and a partner at the law firm of Cunha and Holcomb.


WGBH News is supported by:
Back to top