There are 46 people serving life without the possibility of parole in Colorado for crimes that they committed as juveniles. But, thanks to a law passed last year, those who commit first-degree murder before they turn 18 are now eligible for parole after 40 years.
But the legislation isn't retroactive and Alberto Valles, an alleged gang-banger accused of the 2005 murder of Richard Scobee two days before Valles turned 18, was charged as an adult eight months before the state legislature changed the law.
If convicted, Valles will never walk the streets again, barring a pardon or a successful appeal. A hung jury earlier this year gave Valles a shot at walking, but the district attorney is taking the case to a new jury on January 29.
Tonight, at 8 p.m. on KBDI channel 12, I will be one of three guests on Studio 12 discussing the topic of juveniles sentenced as adults to life in prison, after having written about Michael Tate, who was number 46 on this list. Other guests will include Tate’s lawyer, Shawna Geiger, and Maryellen Johnson of the Pendulum Foundation, which took the lead in getting the laws changed.
-- Luke Turf