And then there was one.
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
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.