Criminal Justice

Juvenile lifer, now 72, won landmark Supreme Court case but remains behind bars

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A 72-year-old Louisiana inmate who was 17 when he killed a sheriff’s deputy must remain in prison, despite his U.S. Supreme Court victory in January 2016.

Parole was denied for Henry Montgomery on April 11, report the Advocate, the Associated Press and Mother Jones.

Parole is not granted absent a unanimous vote of the three-member Louisiana Committee on Parole. One member of the board voted no.

Montgomery was the named petitioner in Montgomery v. Louisiana, a 2016 Supreme Court decision that gave retroactive effect to a prior decision barring mandatory life in prison without parole for juveniles.

Board member Brennan Kelsey said he voted against granting parole because Montgomery had to take more classes and complete more programming, according to coverage by the Advocate. “It’s your responsibility to continue to work,” he said in proceedings broadcast by video feed.

Montgomery’s lawyer, Keith Nordyke, said Montgomery has “been through all of the programs he could take,” and he has been “a force for good,” according to the Advocate.

Montgomery has taken classes in anger management and victim awareness. He organized a literacy program and a boxing club, and he was involved in a church ministry. He also has worked in the prison’s silk screen shop.

The only classes left to take are on parenting and substance abuse, which don’t apply to Montgomery, Nordyke said, because he has no children and hasn’t struggled with substance abuse. “I do feel like the goalposts are moving,” Nordyke said.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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